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The Spoilt Child 

A TALE OF 



Hindu Domestic Life. 



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PEARY CHAND MITTER 



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THE SPOILT CHILD: 

A TALE OF HINDU DOMESTIC LIFE. 



BY 

PEARY CHAND MITTER 
(TEK CHAND THAKUR.) 



TRANSLATED BY 

G. D. OSWELL, M.A., 

Court of Wards, Bengal. 



Calcutta: 

THACKER, SPINK AND CO. 
1893. 

[A8 rights reserved*] 



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PRINTED BY THACKER, SPINK AND CO., CALCUTTA. 



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TO MY FATHER 

REV. HENRY LLOYD OSWELL, M.A., 

WHO, AFTER 60 YEARS OF ACTIVE WORE 
IN THE CHURCH, 

HAS SOUGHT A WELL-EARNED RETIREMENT, 

THIS VOLUME 

IS 

AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED. 



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5 ■ . . ■ 



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PREFACE. 



The author of this novel, Babu Peary Chand Mitter, 
was born in the year 1814. 

t He represented the well-educated, thoroughly earnest, 
and courteous Bengali gentleman of the old school. 

His life was devoted to the good of his fellow-country- 
men, and he was especially eager in the cause of female 
education. In the preface to one of his works, written 
with that object in view, he writes : — " I was born in the 
year 1814. While a pupil of tho Pathshdla at home, I 
found my grandmother, mother, and aunts reading Ben- 
gali books. They could write in Bengali and keep ac- 
counts. There were no female schools then, nor were 
there suitable books for the females. My wife was very 
fond of reading, and I could scarcely supply her with 
instructive books. I was thus forced to think how female 
education could be promoted in a substantial way. * The 
conclusion I came to was that, unless womanhood were 
placed on a spiritual basis, education would never be pro- 
ductive of real good. For the furtherance of this end I 
have been humbly working." 

» Amongst the books he published with this end in view 
are the " Ramaranjika," the " Abhedi," and the " Adhya- 
twikL" The " Ramaranjika " deals with female education 
under different aspects, and gives examples drawn from 
the lives of eminent Englishwomen, as well as biographical 



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*m PREFACE. 

sketches of distinguished Hindu women, drawn from history 
and tradition. Of the " Abhedi " the author says : — ci It 
is a spiritual novel in Bengali, in which the hero and heroine 
have been described as earnest seekers after the knowledge 
of the soul, and as obtaining spiritual light by the educa- 
tion of pain." Of the " Adhyatwika," the author tells 
us : — " It brings before its readers the conversation and 
manners of different classes of people, in different cir- 
cumstances, which have been pourtrayed in different styles, 
and which may perhaps be useful to foreigners wishing to 
acquire a colloquial knowledge of the Bengali language." 

Babu Peary Chand Mitter was a man who keenly felt 
the evils in society around him, and he used his pen in 
the cause of temperance and the purity of the domestic 
circle as against drunkenness and debauchery ; amongst 
his writings having this object in view is tha "Mada 
Khaoya bara daya," or " The great evils of dram-drink- 
ing^ It is a novel marked by great humour, and shows 
the author to have been a satirist of no mean power. 

'Besides these novels he wrote " The Life of David 
Hare " both in Bengali and in English. He also contri- 
buted essays to The Calcutta Review, and an American 
publication called The Banner of Light, besides writing 
articles for the Agri-Horticultural Society of India. 

Babu Peary Chand Mitter died in 1883. 

The novel " Alaler Gharer Dulal," or "The Spoilt 
Darling of an Ill-regulated House," was written more than 
forty years ago, and was very well received, as the criti- 
cisms of the day show. The Calcutta Review of the day 
says : — ** We hail this book as the first novel in the Ben- 
gali language. Tek Chand Thakur has written a tale 
the like of which is not to be found within the entire 
range of Bengali literature. Our author's quiet humour 
reminds us of Goldsmith, while his livelier passages bring 



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PREFACE. is 

to our recollection the treasures of Fielding's wit. He 
seems to be familiar with Defoe, Fielding, Scott, Dickens, 
Bulwer, Thackeray, and other masters of fiction." 

Other critics of the day compared him to a Moli^re or 
a Dickens. 

Mr. John Beames, in his M Modern Aryan Languages of 
India," writes : — " Babn Peary Chand Mitter, who writes 
under the nom de plume of Tek Chand Thakur, has pro- 
duced the best novel in the language 'Alaler Gharer 
Dum.' He has had many imitators, and certainly stands 
high as a novelist. His story might fairly claim to be 
ranked with some of the best comic novels in our own 
language for wit, spirit, and clever touches of nature. 
He puts into the mouth of each of his characters the ap- 
propriate method of talking, and thus exhibits to the 
full the extensive range of vulgar idioms which his lan- 
guage possesses." • ■'•*.•■ 

In an introductory essay on Bengali novels, in his 
translation of Babu Bunkim Chandra Chatterjee's novel 
" Kopal Kundala," Mr. Phillips writes : — " The position 
and character of Bengali literature is peculiar. A back- 
ward people have, so to speak, rushed into civilization at 
one bound : old customs and prejudices have been dis- 
placed, uno ictUy by a state of enlightenment and advanced 
ideas. The educated classes have suddenly found them- 
selves face to face with the richest gems of Western learn- 
ing and literature. The clash of widely divergent stages 
of civilization, the juxtaposition of the most advanced 
thought with comparative barbarism, has produced results 
which, though perhaps to be expected, are somewhat 
curious. If one tries to close a box with more than it can 
hold the lid may be unhinged, — new wine may burst old 
bottles. The colliding forces of divergent stages of civili- 
zation have produced a literature that for want of a better 



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x PREFACE. 

expression may bo called a hybrid compromise between 
Eastern and Western ideas. So we find that the Bengali 
novel is to a great extent an exotic. It is a hot-house 
plant which has been brought from a foreign soil ; but 
even crude imitations are better than the farragos of 
original nonsense, lists of which appear from time to time 
in the pages of the Calcutta Gazette. 

The above remarks are merely general, and there exist. 
of course, bright and notable exceptions, among whom 
-may be mentioned the names of Peary Chand Mitter 
(the father of Bengali novelists), Bunkira Chandra Chat- 
terjea, Romesh Chandra Dutt, and Tarak Nath Ganguli. 

The ' Alaler Gharer Dulal ' of Peary Chand Mitter may 
be called a truly indigenous novel, in which some of the 
.reigning vices and follies of the time are held up to scorn 
and derision. A deep vein of moral earnestness runs 
through all the writings of Peary Chand Mitter, and he 
takes the opportunity to interweave with the incidents of 
his story disquisitions on virtue and vice, truthfulness and 
deceit, charity and niggardliness, hypocrisy and straight- 
forwardness. Not only general vices, such as drinking 
and debauchery, but particular customs, such as a Kulin's 
marrying a dozen wives, and living at their expense, are 
condemned in no measured terms. The book is written 
in a plain colloquial style, which, combined with a 
quiet humour, procured for it a considerable degree of 
popularity." 

As further evidence, if such were wanting, of the popu- 
larity of this novel, it may be mentioned that it has been 
dramatized, having been published in the form of a natah 
or play, by Babu Hira Lall Mitter. 

The leading characteristics of the novel, as they have 
appeared to the translator, are the humour, pathos, and 
satire that pervade almost every page of it. 



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PREFACE. x\ 

The humour, though it may occasionally be broad, can 
never be called coarse, and much of it is the cultured 
humour that might be expected from a writer well ac- 
quainted with his own ancient classics. If Thackeray is 
the type of the cultured humorist of the West, Peary 
Chand Hitter is the type of the cultured humorist of 
the East. 

The pathos is especially noticeable in some of the 
•scenes which the author has pourtrayed for us with such 
vivid reality where the poor arc brought before us. We 
see the utter dependence of the poor upon the generosity 
of the rich, a generosity that is rarely appealed to in 
vain : there is pathos too in the scene that brings before 
us the ryot and his landlord ; and in the scenes in tho 
zenana and the bathing-grM* where we have an insight 
. into the lives and the thoughts of both the upper and 
lower classes of the women of the country. There is a 
deep pathos in the scene that brings before us the old 
lnan at Benares, spending the evening of his days in 
reading and meditation, in " The Holy City :" it is a 
scene that gives us an insight into the deeper religious 
side of the Hindu character. 

• The satire is only merciless where it is directed against 
the vices of drinking and debauchery, or against the 
custom of the much marrying of Kulins, or the marrying 
of old men to young girls, or solely for money. In other 
cases it is not unkindly, especially where it is directed 
against that not uncommon failing both in the West and 
the East, which Shakespeare has immortalized as "too 
much respect upon the world," and which is largely 
exhibited in the East in the form of lavish expenditure, 
regardless of debt, upon social and religious ceremonies. 
< Amongst other characteristics of this novel may be 
noted that deep vein of moral earnestness, already re- 
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xii PREFACE. 

ferred to, which runs through the whole book, and which 
is chiefly exhibited in the form of moral reflections, such 
as are so common in many of the Sanscrit tales. 

Dramatic vividness is another noticeable feature of the 
book : a few strokes of the pen suffice to bring before us, 
as living realities, characters that are drawn from every 
class of life, and scenes that deal with almost every in- 
cident of life in Bengal, In fact a far more vivid picture 
of social life in Bengal, both in its inner and outer as- 
pects, is presented to us in the pages of this book, than is 
presented in the pages of many books purporting to give 
* us an account of that life. 

"And, with this dramatic vividness, there is a general 
faithfulness to reality that will be appreciated by those 
who have lived for any time amidst the scenes described ; 
for, though the book describes life in Bengal as it ap- 
peared to the eyes of an acute observer writing more 
than forty years back, the picture, in its general outlines, 
is as true of the life of the people now as it was then. 

Another noticeable feature of the book is the rhythmic 
flow which marks its language. This is a feature which 
appears to characterize all books written for the people 
in the language best understood of the people, no matter 
what that language is. • 

As regards the language in which Peary Chand Mitter 
wrote this novel, the Calcutta Review of the day writes :— 
v Endowed, as he was, with strong common sense, as well 
as high culture, he saw no reason why this idol of un- 
mixed diction should receive worship at his hands, and he 
set about writing * Alaler Gharer Dulal ' in a spirit at 
which the Sanscritists stood aghast, and shook their heads. 
Going to the opposite extreme in point of style, he 
vigorously excluded from his works, except on very rare 
occasions, every word and phrase that had a learned 



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PREFACE. ziii 

appearance. His own works suffered from the exclusion, 
but the movement was well-timed. He scattered to tho 
winds the time-honoured commonplaces, and drew upon 
nature and life for his materials. His success was emi- 
nent and well-deserved." 

. One feature that has especially struck the translator 
in transferring this novel from its original Bengali into 
English, is that he has found it necessary to omit nothing, 
on the score of indelicacy, or bad taste, — a remark which 
could not be made of every Bengali novel. The author 
has written with the maxim of the old Roman satirist ever 
before his eyes, — maxima debetur pitero reverentia. 

The translator has had three classes of readers before 
his eyes, in making this translation. 

It seemed to him that so excellent a picture of social 
life in Bengal could not but be interesting to those 
Englishmen and Englishwomen who are interested in the 
lives of their fellow-subjects in India. 

It also occurred to him that as the rising generation of 
Bengalis no longer read Bengali literature as of old, it 
might interest them to see, in an English dress, a novel 
that has been so popular amongst their older compatriots. 

English students of the Bengali language and its liter- 
ature may also find the translation of use, as it has been 
made literal as far as was possible. 

The task of translation, though it has been a pleasant 
one, has not been easy; owing to the many difficulties 
in the way of adequately rendering into English, without 
the qualities of the original suffering in the transfer, a 
book so essentially colloquial and idiomatic in style and 
character. The fact that Professor Cowell at one time 
contemplated a translation of this novel, but abandoned 
the idea owing to this very difficulty, has made the 
translator still more diffident of success, and he can only 



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xir 



PREFACE. 



leave it to the indulgence of his Bengali readers to 
decide how far he has succeeded in his translation, in 
doing justice to the spirit of the original. 

The translator's thanks are due to Babu Mohiny Mohun 
Chattcrjea, Solicitor, Calcutta, for his kindness in revising 
the translation for him, and to Babu Amrita Lall Mitter, 
the Honorary Secretary to the Society for the Prevention 
of Cruelty to Animals in Calcutta, and son of the author, 
for allowing him to publish it. 



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CONTENTS. 



Chapter I Matilall at Rome . 

vv II Matilall's Enoli*h Education . 

,. Ill Matilall at School . 

M IV Matilall in the Police Court 

,. V Baburam in Calcutta 

,. VI Matilall's Mother and Sisters 

„ Til Trial of Matilall , 

„ VIII Baburam Returns Home 

„ IX Matilall and his Friends 

„ X The Marriage Contract 

M . XI The Poetaster 

„ XII Babada Babu 

„ XIII Babada Babu's Pupil 

„ XIV The False Charge 

„ XV Trial of Barada Babu . 

M XVI Thakchacha at Home 

„ XVII Baburam'8 Second Marriage 

,; XVIII Mozoomdar on the Marriage 

„ XIX Death of Baburam Babu 

„ XX The Shraddha Ceremony 

„ XXI Matilall on the Guddee 

„ XXII Matilall in Business 

„ XXIII Matilall at Sonagaji . 

„ XXIV Thakchacha Apprehended 

„ XXV Matilall in Jessore 

„ XXVI Thakchacha in Jail . 

„ XXVII Trial at the High Court , 

„ X^CVIII A Philanthropist 

„ XXIX Bancharam in Possession 

„ XXX Matilall at Benares : Home Again 



Kotes 



Page. 

1 

8 

14 

20 

28 

39 

49 

59 

67 

74 

81 

85 

91 

99 

107 

113 

116 

120 

125 

131 

140 

144 

160 

158 

166 

174 

181 

191 

196 

201 

219 



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THE PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS. 



BABURAU BABU . 

Matilall 

Bamlall 

Baburam's First Wife 

His Second Wife 

Pbamada . 

mokshada . 

Beni Babu 

Becharah . 

Barada Babu . 

Bakcharam 

Thakchacha . 

Bahulta 

Haladhar , 

Gadahar • 

doloovinda . 

Mangovinda 

Matilall's Wife 

Mr. John 

Mr. Butler 

Mr. Sherbobn 

premnarayan mozoomdar 



A Zemindar. 

His Eldest Son. 

His Youngest Son. 

Mother of his Children. 

A Young Girl. 

His Married Daughter. 

His Widowed Daughter. 

A Friend. 

A Friend. 

The Kayasth Reformer. 

A Lawyer's Clerk. 

A Mahomedan Friend. 

A Mahomedan. 



Friends of Matilall. 



A Calcutta Merehant. 
A Solicitor. 
A 8chool-ma8ter. 
A House Clerk. 



A 



'i'S 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 



CHAPTER I. 

Matilall at Home. 

Baburam Babu, a resident of Vaidyabati, was a man 
of large experience in business affairs : he was famous for 
his long service in the Revenue and Criminal Courts. 
Now to walk uprightly without taking bribes when en- 
gaged in the public service, is not a very long-established 
custom. Baburam Babu's procedure was in accordance 
with the old style, and being skilful at his work, he had 
succeeded, by servility and cringing, in imposing on his 
superior officers ; as a consequence of which he had ac- 
quired considerable wealth within a very short time. In 
this country a man's reputation keeps pace with the increase 
of his riches or with his advancement : learning and 
character have not anything like the same respect paid 
to them. There had been a time when Baburam Babu's 
position had been p. very inferior one, and when only a 
few individuals in his village had paid him any atten- 
tion ; but later, as he came into the possession of fine 
buildings, gardens, estates, and a good deal of influence 
in many ways, he found himself with a host of friends as 
his followers and advisers. Whenever during his inter- 
vals of leisure he went to his house, his reception-room 
would be crowded with people. It is always the case that 
0, so 1 



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2 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

when a man has a sudden accession of wealth there Is a 
rush of people to him, just as the shop of a sweatmeat 
seller will become full of flies as long as there are sweet- 
meats to be had. At whatever time you might visit Babu- 
ram Babu's house you would always find people with him: 
rich and poor, they would all sit round and flatter him, 
the more intelligent among them in indirect fashion only, 
the lesser folk outright and unblushingly, agreeing with 
everything he said. After some time spent in the way 
we have described, Baburam Babu took his pension, and 
remained at home occupied in the management of his 
estates and in trade. 

Now in this world, entire happiness is the lot of hardly 
any one, and it is rare to find intelligence displayed in all 
the concerns of life. Baburam Babu had turned his atten- 
tion solely to amassing wealth : the questions which had 
alone exercised his mind had been how to increase his re- 
sources, How to make the whole village aware of his im- 
portance, so that all might salute him properly, and how 
to celebrate his religious festivals on a larger scale 
than those of his neighbours. He had a son and two 
daughters : being himself a descendant of the great Kulin,. 
Balaram Thakur, he had, with a view to the preservation 
of his caste, married the two girls at great expense almost 
immediately after their bfrth ; but their husbands, being 
Kulins, had taken to themselves wives in a number of 
places, and would not so much as peep into the house of 
their father-in-law of Vaidyabati, except on condition of 
receiving a handsome remuneration for their trouble. 

His son, Matilall, having been indulged in every pos- 
sible way from his boyhood, was exceedingly self-willed ; 
at times, he would say to his father : " Father, I want to 
catch hold of the moon ! " " Father, I want to eat a can- 
non-ball!" Now and then he would roar and cry, so that 



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THE SPOILT CHIL D. 3 

all the neighbours would say: "We cannot get any sleep 
owing to that dreadful boy." Having been so spoilt by 
his parents, the boy would not tolerate the bare idea 
of going to school, and thus it was that the doty of 
teaching him devolved npon the house clerk. On his very 
first visit to his teacher, Matilall howled aloud, and scratch- 
ed and bit him. His tutor therefore went to the master 
of the house and said to him : a Sir, it is quite beyond 
my power to instruct your son." The master of the house 
replied : " Ah, he is my only darling, my Krishna ! use 
flattery and caresses if you will, only do teach him." 

Hatilall was afterwards induced by means of many 
stratagems to attend school ; and when his teacher was 
leaning up against the wall, nodding drowsily, with his legs 
crossed and a cane in his hand, reiterating — "Write 
boys, write," Matilall would rise from his seat, make con- 
temptuous gestures, and dance about the room. The teacher 
would go on snoring away, ignorant of what his pupil was 
doing, and when he opened his eyes again, Matilall would be 
seated near his writing materials of dry palm-leaves, draw- 
ing figures of crows and cranes. When later in the after- 
noon he had commenced the repetition lesson, Matilall, amid 
the confused babel of tongues, would utter cries of Hori 
Boly and cleverly outwit his teacher by uttering the last 
letters only of the words that were being recited. Occa- 
sionally when his teacher was napping, he would tickle 
his nose or throw a live piece of charcoal into his lap, 
and then dart away like an arrow. When the hour for re- 
freshment came, he would occasionally get some boy to give 
the master lime and water to drink, pretending that it was 
buttermilk. The teacher saw that the boy was a thorough 
good-for-nothing, who had made up his mind to have no- 
thing more to do with education; so he concluded that 
as the boy had profited naught from all the canings he had 



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4 THE SPOILT CU1LD. 

had, but only learnt the art of playing tricks upon his 
teacher, it was high time to be released from the hands of 
such a pupil. The master of the house however would 
not hear of it, so he had to have recourse to stratagem. 
The occupation of clerk seemed to him to be better than 
that of teacher : in the latter occupation his wages were 
two rupees a month besides food and clothing, while his 
gains over and above that would be merely a present 
of rice and a pair of cloths or so at the time of the boy's 
being first initiated into school-life : on the other hand, 
in the occupation of a clerk who superintended all 
purchases in the market, there were constant pickings. 
Revolving such thoughts in his. mind, he went to the master 
of the house and told him that Matilall's education was 
complete so far as his writing was concerned, and that 
he had also been thoroughly taught to keep accounts, so far 
as estate-management was concerned. Baburam Babu was 
overwhelmed with joy on receiving this intelligence, and 
all his neighbours in conclave with him said : "Why should 
it not be so ? Can a lion's whelp ever become a jackal ? " 

Baburam Babu now thought that he ought to have his 
son taught the rudiments of Sanskrit grammar and a smafc* 
tering of Persian. Having come to this determination, 
be called the priest who was in charge of the family wor- 
ship, and said : "You sir ! have you any knowledge of gram- 
mar ?" This Brahman was the densest of blockheads, but 
he thought to himself : " I am now getting only rice and 
plantains, quite insufficient for me : here I see at length a 
means of making a living" So he replied : " Yes, sir, I 
studied grammar for five years continuously in the Sanskrit 
Tol of Ishvar Chandra Vedanta Vagishwar of Kunnimora. 
But I have been very unlucky : I have gained nothing 
from all my learning : I am no more than your humble 
servant in spite of it all, and my food is but coarse grain . and 

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TOE SPOILT CHILD. « 

' water." Baburam Baba thereupon appointed him totcacli 
his son the rudiments of Sanskrit grammar from that day. 
The Brahman, inebriated with hope, speedily got by heart 
a page or two of the Atugdha Bodh Grammar, and set 
about teaching the boy. 

Thought Matilall to himself :— " Ihave escaped from the 
hands of my old teacher ; how am I to get rid of this 
rice-and-plantain-eating old Brahman ? I am my father 
and mother's darling, and whether I can write or not, 
they will say nothing to me. The only object of learning 
after all is to gain money, and my father has boundless 
wealth : what then is the good of my learning? It is 
quite enough for me to be able to sign my name ; 
besides what will my intimate friends have left to do if 
I take to learning? their occupation in ministering to 
my pleasures will be gone ! The present is the time for en- 
joyment : has the pain of learning any attractions for 
me just now? surely none!" Having come to this de- 
termination, Matilall thus addressed his preceptor : — u Old 
Brahman, if you come here any more to plague me with 
this grammatical rubbish, I will throw away the family 
idol, and with it your last hope of a livelihood ; and if you 
go to my father and tell him what I have said to you, I 
will just drop a brick onto you from the roof : then your 
wife will soon become a widow, and have to remove her 
bracelet from her wrist." The Brahman, distressed by 
Buch remarks about his teaching, thought. to himself: "For 
six months past I have been labouring at the peril of 
my life, and I have not yet been paid anything : the whole 
occupation is one that is most repugnant to my feelings, and 
I am in constant danger of my life. Let me now only get 
clear of him and I care not what happens to me after- 
wards." As the Brahman was revolving all this in his 
mind, Matilall looked in his face and said : " Well, what are 



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6 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

,you in such a brown study about? Are you in want of 
.money ? Here, take this ! But you must go to my father, 
and tell him that I have learned every thing." The Brahman 
accordingly went to the boy's father and said to him : " Sir, 
your Matilall is no common boy ! he has a most extraor- 
dinary memory ; he will remember for ever what he may 
have heard only once." There was an astrologer at the time 
with Baburam, who observed to the Babu : " There is no 
necessity for you to give me an introduction to Matilall: he 
is a boy whose birth was at an auspicious moment ; if only 
.he lives he is bound to become a very great man." 

Baburam Babu next set about searching for a Munshi 
to teach his son Persian. After a long search, the grand- 
father of Aladi the tailor, Habibala Hoshan by name, 
was appointed to the post on a salary of one rupee eight 
annas a month, together with oil and firewood. , The 
Munshi Saheb was a man with toothless gums, a grey 
beanl, and a moustache like tow: his eyes would get 
inflamed whenever he was teaching, and when he bade his 
pupils repeat the letters after him, his face became hideously 
distorted in pronouncing the guttural Persian letters kaph, 
gaph> curiy glial n. The benefit that Matilall derived from 
learning Persian was pretty much what might have been 
expected from his possessing no taste whatever for the 
pursuit of knowledge, and having such a preceptor. As 
the Munshi Saheb was one day stooping over his book, 
repeating the maxims of Masnavi in a sing-song manner 
and keeping time with his hand, Matilall seized the op- 
portunity to drop a lighted match from behind onto his 
beard.' The poor Munshi's beard at once flared up, crack- 
ling as it blazed, upon which Matilall remarked : "How 
now, Mussulman ? you will not teach me any more after 
this, I expect." The Munshi Saheb left speedily, shaking 
.his head and exclaiming " TaubaJ Tauha!" Then as the 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 



pain of the barn intensified, he shrieked : " Never, never 
have I seen so mad and wicked a boy as this : of a surety 
field labour in my own country were better than such 
slavery : it is cruel work coming to a place like this t 
Tauba! Tauba!" 



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CHAPTER II. 
Matil all's English Education. 

When Baburam heard of the evil plight of the Mnnshi 
Saheb, the only remark he made was : " My boy, Matilall, 
is not a boy like that. "What can you expect from such a 
low fellow as that Mussulman ?" He then considered that 
as Persian was going out of fashion, it might be a good 
thing for the boy to learn English. Just as a madman has 
occasional glimmerings of sense, so even a man lacking in 
intelligence has occasional happy inspirations. When he 
had come to this decision, it occurred to Baburam Babu 
that he was a very indifferent English scholar himself : he 
only knew one or two English words : his neighbours too, 
he reflected, knew about as much of it as he himself did : 
he must consult with some man of learning and experi- 
ence. As he went over in his mind the list of his kins- 
men and relatives, it struck him that Beni Babu, of Bally, 
was a very competent person. Business habits generate 
promptness of action, and he proceeded without delay to 
the Vaidyabati Ghat, taking with him a servant and a 
messenger. 

In the first two months of the rainy season, the months 
Ashar and Shravan, most of the boatmen occupy them- 
selves in catching hilsa fish with circular nets, and at 
midday, are generally busy taking their meals. Thus it 
came about that there was not a boat of any description 
at the Vaidyabati Ghat. Baburam Babu, full-whiskered, 
the sacred mark on his nose, dressed in fine lawn with 
coloured borders, with smart shoes from Phulapukur, a 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 9 

front like the front of Ganesh,a delicate muslin shawl neatly 
folded over his shoulders, and his cheeks swollen with 
pdriy was walking impatiently up and down, calling out to 
his servant : "Ho, there, Hari ! I must get to Bally quick ; 
you must hire a passing boat for me for four pice." Rich 
men's servants are often very disrespectful, and Hari made 
answer: "Sir, that is just like you ! I had only just sat 
down to take my food and I have now had to throw it away 
and leave it in order to attend to your repeated calls. If 
there had been any boat going down-stream, it might have 
been hired for a small sum, but it is flood-tide just now, 
and the boatmen will have to work hard rowing and 
steering. You might get across for three or four pice if 
you would arrange to go with others. I cannot possibly 
hire a passing boat for you for four pice ; you might as 
well ask me to make barley-meal cakes without water." 
Baburam Babu scowled and said : " You are a very in- 
solent fellow; if you speak like that to me again, you get 
a sound smacking." Now the lower orders of Bengalees 
tremble even if they make a slip, so Hari endured the 
rebuke, and quaking all over said to his master : "Sir, how 
can I possibly find a boat ? I had no intention of being 
insolent to you." 

• Wfiile he was still speaking, a green boat that was 
being towed up the river on its return journey, approach- 
ed the ffhcit where they were. After a long argument 
with the steersman of the boat a bargain was struck, and 
he agreed to take them across for eight annas. Baburam 
then got into the boat with his servant and his messenger. 
When they had got some way on their journey, he began 
looking about him in every direction, and said to his 
servant: " Hari, this is a fine boat we have got ! Hi, steers- 
man t whose house is that over there ? Ho ! surely that 
is a sugar factory. Ha I Now prepare me a pipe of 



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10 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

tobacco, and strike me a light." Then he pulled away at 
the gurgling hooka, now and again raising himself to look 
at the porpoises tumbling in the water, and hummed 
a song of the loves of Krishna : — 

" When late to Brindabnn, O Krishna f I came, 
"Your home there, alas I I found only a name.*' 

As it was the ebb, the boat dropped quickly down-stream and 
the boatmen had no occasion to exert themselves: one sat on 
the edge of the boat; another, bearded like an old billy- 
goat, keeping his look-out on the top of the cabin, sang in 
•the Chittagong dialect the popular song which goes : — 

" E'en the earring of gold shall loosen its hold, 
u By the lute-string's languishing strain cajoled.'* 

The sun had not yet set when the boat reached its moorings 
at the Deonagaji Ghat. Four boatmen, panting and puffing 
with their efforts, lifted Baburam Babu, a mass of solid 
flesh, out of the boat, and set him safe on land. 

Beni Babu received his relative very courteously and 
begged him to be seated, while his house servant, Bam, 
at once brought some tobacco he had prepared for him. 
Baburam Babu was very fond of his pipe : after a few 
pulls he remarked: "How is it that this hooka is his- 
sing?" A servant who is in constant attendance upon 
a man of intelligence soon becomes intelligent himself : 
Ram, divining what was wrong, put a clearing-rod in the 
hooka, changed the water, supplied it with some fresh 
tobacco, sweet and compact, and brought it back with a 
larger mouthpiece. Finding the hooka placed by him, 
Baburam Babu took entire possession, as though he had 
taken a permanent lease of it, and as he puffed away, 
emitting clouds of smoke, chattered with Beni Babu. 

BenL — Would you not like to get up now, sir, and 
take some light refreshment ? 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 11 

Baburam.— It is already rather late : I don't think I 
will just how. I am quite at home, thank you ; I would 
have called for it if I had wanted it. But please just listen 
to what I have to say. My son Matilall has shown that ho 
possesses remarkable genius ! You would be quite delight- 
ed to see the boy. I am anxious to have him taught 
English ; do you think you can get me a master to teach 
him for some mere trifle ? 

Bent. — There are plenty of masters to be had, and a 
man of moderate ability might be got for from twenty to 
twenty-five rupees a month. 

Baburam. — What, so much as that? Twenty-five 
rupees ! Oh my dear friend, these religious ceremonies you 
know are a constant source of expense in my establish- 
ment: I have about a hundred peoplo to feed every day; and 
besides all this, I shall very soon have my son's marriage 
to arrange for. Why did I go to the expense of hiring a 
boat to come here and see you, only to be asked for as 
much as that after all ? 

With this, he put his hands on Beni Babu's shoulders, 
.and laughed immoderately. 

Beni. — Then put him at some school in Calcutta : the 
boy might live with some relative, and his education' 
need not in that case cost more than three or four rupees 
a month. 

Baburam.— What, as much as that? Couldn't one 
;manage to get the prices down with a little haggling? 
,And is a school education any better than a home one ? 

Beni. — Home education is a very excellent thing if you 
can secure a really first-rate teacher, but such a teacher 
is not to be had on a small salary. School education has 
.its good points and also its bad points. A healthy spirit of 
emulation of course springs up amongst a number of boys 
who are being educated together ; but at the same time 



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12 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

some of the boys will always be in danger of being corrupt- 
ed'By bad company. Besides when twenty-five or thirty 
1w>ys are reading in one class, there is a good deal of con- 
fusion, and equal attention cannot be paid every day to all 
the boys alike : consequently all do not make similar 
progress. 

Bdburam. — Anyhow I will send Matilall to you ; and 
when you have looked about you, do try and make some 
cheap arrangement for me. None of the English gentle- 
men for whom I once did business are here now : if they 
had been, I might have got some of them to secure him 
schooling which would have cost me nothing : it would 
only have needed a little importunity. However it will 
be quite enough if my son obtains just a smattering of 
learning : if he becomes a scholar, he may not remain in 
the religion of his fathers. So kindly make it your business 
to see that he becomes a man : I lay the whole respon- 
sibility upon you, my friend. 

Beni. — If a boy is to grow into a man, every attention 
is necessary both when he is at home and when he is 
away from home : the father must see everything with 
his own eyes and enter thoroughly into all the boy's occu- 
pations. There is a good deal of business that may be 
done through commission agencies, but the education of 
a boy is not one of them. 

Baburam. — That is all very true : regard Matilall then as 
your son* I shall now get some leisure for 'my ablutions 
in the Ganges, for reading the Puranas, and for looking 
iafter my concerns; for at present I have no time even for 
these : besides, all the English training that I possess is 
training of the old school. Matilall is yours, my dear 
, friend, he is yours ! I will rid myself of all anxiety by send- 
ing him to you. Adopt any course you think fit, but my 
dear friend, do take care that the expense is not heavy : 



» 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 13 

too know my position as a man with a number of young 
children to look after : you can understand that thorough- 
ly, can you not ? 

After this conversation with Beni Babu, Baburam Babu 
returned to his home at Vaidyabati, 



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CHAPTER III. 
Matilall at School. 

Men engaged in business all the week spend very lazy 
Sundays. They avail themselves of any excuse to postpone 
their bath and their meals : after they have bathed and 
eaten, some of them play chess and some cards : some 
occupy themselves in fishing, some play on the tomtom 
and some on the sitar : some lie down and sleep, some 
go for a walk, and others read ; but very little attention 
is paid to the improvement of the mind by study or 
conversation of an improving character. A good deal of 
idle talk is indulged in : perhaps somebody's real or 
fancied disregard of caste-rules may be discussed, and 
how Shambhu ate three jack-fruit at a sitting. Such is 
the style of conversation with which the time will be 
wiled away. Beni Babu's intelligence was of a different 
order. Most people in this country have a general notion 
that when school-days are over, education itself is complete ; 
but this is a great error. However much may be the 
attention paid to the acquisition of knowledge from birth 
to de^th, the further shore of learning is never reached. 
Knowledge can only increase in proportion to the atten- 
tion that is paid to learning : Beni Babu understood this 
well and acted accordingly. 

He had risen as usual one morning, and having first 
looked into his household affairs, had taken up a book 
in order to prosecute his studies, when suddenly a boy of 
fourteen, with a charm round his neck, a ring in his ear, 
a bracelet on his wrist and an armlet on his arm, ap- 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. U 

peared before \}bn and sainted him. Beni Baba was en- 
grossed in his book, bat was roused by the sound of ap- 
proaching footsteps, and guessing who the boy was, said to 
him : ** Come here, Matilall, come here ! is all well at 
home ? " " All is well," replied the boy. Beni Babu bade 
Matilall stay with him for the night, and promised the next 
morning to take him to Calcutta and put him to school. 
Some little time after this, Matilall, having finished his 
meal, perceived that time was likely to hang heavy on 
his hands, as it would not be dark for a long time yet. 
Being naturally of a very restless disposition, it was 
always a hard thing for him to sit long in one place ; . 
so he rose very quietly from his seat, and proceeded to 
explore the house. First he tried to work the mill for 
husking rice with his feet ; then he tramped about 
on the terraced roof of the house ; then commenced 
throwing bricks and tiles at the passers by, running away 
when he had done so as hard as he could. Thus he made 
the circuit of Bally, tramping noisily about, stealing fruit 
out of people's gardens and plucking the flowers, or else 
jumping about on the top of the village huts and break- 
ing the water-jars. The people, annoyed by such con- 
duct as this, asked each other: " Who is this boy ? Surely 
our village will be ruined as Lanka was by Hanuman the 
house-burner." Some of them, when they heard the name 
of the boy's father, remarked: "Ah, he is the son of 
Baburam Babu ! what then can you expect ? Is it not 
: written: 'Men's virtues are reflected in a son, in renown, 
and in water ?' " 

As the evening drew on the village resounded with the 
cries of jackals and the humming of innumerable insects. 
As many men of position reside in Bally, and the shalgram 
is to be found in the houses of most of them, there was no 
lack of the sound of handbells and conch shells. Beni 



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16 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

Babu bad just risen from his reading and was stretching 
his limbs preparatory to a smoke, when a great commo- 
tion suddenly arose. " Sir, the son of the zemindar of 
Vaidyabati has been throwing bricks at us !" ♦* Sir, he has 
thrown away my basket ! " " He has been pushing me 
about ! " " He has grossly insulted me !" " He has broken 
my pot otffhee!" Beni Babu, being very tender-hearted, 
* gave each of the men a present, and dismissed them ; then 
he fell to musing on the kind of training this boy must have 
been given to behave in such a fashion. \ u A fine bringing 
up the lad must have had," he said to himself, u in the 
short space of three hours he has thrown the whole village 
into a state of panic : it will be a great relief when he goes." 
Presently some of the oldest and most respected of the in- 
habitants of the place came to him and said: " Beni Babu, 
who is this boy ? We were taking our usual nap after our 
midday meal, when we were; aroused by this clamour : it 
is most unpleasant to have our rest broken in upon in 
this way." Beni Babu replied: "Ple&se say no more; 1 
have had a very heavy burden imposed upon me : one of 
my relatives, a zemindar, a man rather lacking in common 
sense if possessed of great wealth, has sent his son to me 
to put to school for him ; and meanwhile I am being worn 
to a mere shadow with the annoyance. If I had to keep a 
boy like this with me for three days, my house would be- 
come a ruin for doves to come and roost in." 

As this conversation was proceeding, several boys ap- 
proached, Matilall in their rear, all singing at the top of 
their yoices the refrain — 

' M To Shambhu's son all honour pay, 
" Shambu, the lord of night and day," 

" Ah J " said Beni Babu, " here he comes : keep quiet, perhaps 
he may take it into his head to beat us : I shall not breathe 
freely till I have got rid of the monkey," Seeing Beni 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 17 

Babu, Matilall seemed somewhat ashamed of himself, and 
looked a little disconcerted : to his question however as 
to where he had been, he replied that he had merely been 
trying to form some idea of the size of the place. When 
they had entered the house, Matilall ordered Ram the 
servant to bring him some tobacco, but it was no good 
giving him the ordinary make ; he smoked pipe after pipe 
of the very strongest, and Ram could not supply him 
fast enough. It was " Ram bring this I " " Ram, I do not 
want that !" in fact, Ram could not attend to any other 
work, but had to be constantly in attendance upon Matilall, 
keeping him supplied with tobacco. Beni Babu was 
astounded at such behaviour, and kept turning his head 
and glancing curiously in his direction. When the time for 
the evening meal came, Beni Babu took Matilall with him 
into the zenana side of the house and regaled him with all 
sorts of luxuries ;» then having taken the usual betel by 
way of a digestive, retired to rest. Matilall also retired 
to his sleeping chamber and got into bed, when he had 
chewed pan and smoked enough. For some time he 
tossed restlessly about, now on this side, now on that ; and 
every now and then he would get up and walk about, 
singing snatches of the love songs of Nil Thakur, or thp 
old story of the separation of Radha and Krishna as told 
by Ram Basu. At the noise he made, sleep fled from all in 
the house. 

Ram and Pelaram, the gardener, an inhabitant of Kashi- 
jora, had been asleep in the common thatjched hall used 
for the family worship. After the work of the day, sleep is 
, ft great relief, and to have it rudely disturbed is naturally 
a source of much irritation. Both Ram and Pelaram 
were roused from their rest by the noise of the singing. 
Pelaram exclaimed : " Ah, Ram, my father ! I can'get no 
deep while tjiis bull is bellowing in this way : I migh$ 
0,80 2 



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18 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

just as well get up and sow some seeds in the garden." 
Bam, turning himself round, replied : "Ah, it is mid- 
night ! why get up now ? The master has done a fine thing 
in bringing this brat here : it means ruin to us all. The 
boy is a terrible nuisance : we shall not breathe again till 
he goes." 

Early next morning, Beni Babu took Matilall away 
with him to the house of Becharam Banerjea of Bow Bazar. 
' This gentleman was the son of Kenaram Babu, and a man 
of very old family : he was a childlike, simple-minded 
man, hair-lipped from his birth, and highly excitable on 
the smallest provocation. Seeing Beni Babu, he called 
to him in his peculiar nasal tone: " Come, tell me what is 
in your mind now ? n 

Beni. — Well, seeing that Baburam Babu has no relative 
like yourself in Calcutta, I have come to request of you that 
his boy Matilall may live in your house while he is attend- 
ing school, going to Vaidyabati for his Saturday holiday. 

Becharam. — Well, there can be no possible objection to 
that. He is perfectly welcome to come and stay in my 
house : this is as much his home as his father's house is. 
I have no children of my own, and only two nephews ; 
let Matilall then stay with me as long as he pleases. 

On hearing Becharam Babu's nasal twang, Matilall 
burst out laughing. Beni Babu gave a sigh of disgust, 
thinking to himself that there would be little peace here 
so long as such a boy as this was about. Becharam noted 
the jeering laugh, and observed to Beni Babu, " Ah I 
friend Beni, the youngster appears somewhat ill-mannered 
and boorish. I imagine that he must have been constantly 
indulged from infancy." 

Beni Babu was a very shrewd man. His former history 
was known to all. He too had led a wild life, but had 
remedied everything by his own good qualities. He 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 19 

* 
now told himself that if he were to express his real 
opinion of Matilall, the boy. might be ruined : there would 
be an end to his remaining in Calcutta and to his school 
education, and it was his own earnest wish that the boy 
should grow to man's estate with some sort of training 
at least So after exchanging ideas on many other topics, 
he took his leave of Becharam Babu and went with 
Matilall to the school of one Mr. Sherborn. Owing to the 
establishment of the Hindu College, this gentleman's school 
had somewhat diminished in numbers: it required all his 
attention, and constant toil day and night, to keep it going. 
He himself was a stout man with heavy and bushy eye- 
brows ; was never seen without pdn in his mouth and a 
cane in his hand ; and would vary his walks up and down 
his classes by occasionally sitting down and pulling at a 
hooka. Beni Babu having placed Matilall at his school, 
returned to Bally. 



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I 



CHAPTER IV. 
Matilall in the Police Court. 
When the British merchants first came to Calcutta, the 
Setts and Baisakhs were the great, traders, but none of the 
people of the city knew English : all business communi- 
cations with the foreigners had to be carried on by means 
of signs. Man will always find a way out of a difficulty 
if need be, and by means of these signs a few English 
words get to be known. After the establishment of the 
Supreme Court, increased attention was paid to English : 
this % was chiefly due to the influence of the law courts. By 
that time Ram Ram Mistori and Ananda Ram Dass, who 
were representative men in Calcutta, had learned many 
English expressions : Ram Narayan Mistori, a pupil of Ram 
Ram Mistori, was engaged as clerk to an attorney and 
used to write out petitions for a great many people ; he 
also kept a school, his pupils paying from . fourteen to 
sixteen rupees a month. Following his example, others, 
as for instance Ram Lochan Napit and Krisha Mohun 
Basu, adopted the profession .of schoolmaster : their 
pupils used to read some English book and learn the mean- 
ing of words by heart. At marriage ceremonies and 
festivals,everybody would contemplate with awe and aston- 
ishment, and loudly applaud, any boy who could utter a few 
English expressions. Following the example set by others, 
Mr. Sherborn had opened his school at a somewhat late 
period, and the children of people belonging to the upper 
grades of society were being educated at his establishment. 



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THE SPOIL* lflii,y. 

Now boys with a real desire to learn may pick op some- 
thing or other, by dint of their own exertions, at any 
school they may be attending,-AIl schools have their good 
*nd bad points, and there are a large number of lads 
so peculiarly constituted that they keep wandering about 
from school to school, under pretence of being dissatis- 
fied with each one they go to, and think, by passing their 
time in this unsettled way, to deceive their parents into 
the belief that they are learning something. So Matilall, 
after attending Mr. Sherborn's school for a few days, had 
himself entered anew at the school of a Mr. Charles. 

The chief end in view in all education is the development 
of a good disposition and a high character, the growth of a 
right understanding, and the attainment of a thorough 
mastery of any work that may have to be attended to* in 
the practical business of life. If the education of children 
is conducted on these lines, they may become in every way 
respectable members of society, competent to understand 
and duly execute all their business both at home and 
abroad. But to ensure that such a training shall be given, 
both parents and teachers have need to exert themselves* 
The young will naturally follow in the footsteps of their 
elders. Goodness in the parents is a necessary condition 
of the growth of goodness in the children. If a drunken 
father forbids his child liquor, why should the child listen 
to him? If a father, himself addicted to immorality, 
attempts to instruct a son in morals, he will at once 
recall the mousing cat that professed asceticism, and 
will only mock at his hypocrisy. The son whose father 
lives a virtuous life has no great need of advice and 
counsel : mere observation of his father will generate a 
good disposition. The mother too must keep her atten- 
tion constantly fixed on her child: there is nothing so potent 
in its humanising effect on a child's mind as a mother's 



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S3 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

sweet conversation, kindness and caresses. A child's good 
behaviour is assured when he distinctly realises that if he 
does certain things, his mother will not take him into 
her lap and caress him. Again, it is the teacher's duty to 
guard against making a mere parrot of his pupil, when he 
is teaching him by book. If a boy has to get all he 
reads by heart, his faculty of memory may be strengthened, 
it is true ; but if his intelligence is not promoted, and he 
gets no practical knowledge, then his education is all a 
sham. Whether the pupil be old or young, the matter 
should be explained to him in such a way that his mind 
may grasp what he is learning. By a good system of 
education, and judicious tact in teaching, an intelligent 
comprehension of a subject may bo effected such as no 
amount of mere chiding will bring about. 
• Matilall had learned nothing of morality or good con- 
duct in his Vaidyabati home, and now his residence in 
Bow Bazar proved a curse rather than a blessing. Becha- 
ram Babu had two nephews, whose names were Haladhar 
and Gadadhar. These boys had never known what it was 
to have a father ; and though they occasionally went to 
school out of fear of their mother and uncle, it was more 
of a sham than anything else. They mostly wandered at 
their pleasure, unchecked, about the streets, the river 
ghdts y the terraced roofs of houses and the open common ; 
and they utterly refused to listen to anybody who tried 
to restrain them. When their mother remonstrated, they 
would just retort: "If you do this we will both of us run 
away;" so they were left to do pretty much as they 
pleased. They found Matilall one of their own sort, and 
within a very short time a close intimacy sprang up be- 
tween them ; they became quite inseparable ; would sit 
together, eat together, and sleep together ; would put 
their hands on each other's shoulders* and go about both 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 23 

in doors and out of doors hand in hand, or with their arms 
round each other's necks. Whenever Becharam's wife 
saw them, she would say : "They are three brothers, sons 
of one mother." 

Neither children nor youths nor old men can remain 
for any length of time passive or engaged in one kind of 
occupation : they must have some way of dividing the 
twenty-four hours of the day and night between a variety of 
occupations. In the case of children, special arrangements 
will have to be made to ensure their having a combination 
of amusement with instruction. Neither continuous play 
nor continuous work is a good thing. The chief object of 
all recreation is to enable a man to pay greater attention 
to his labour afterwards, his body refreshed by relaxation. 
The mind only becomes enfeebled by unbroken exertion, 
and anything learnt in that condition simply floats about 
on the surface without sinking into it. But in all games 
there is this to be considered, that those only are benefi- 
cial in which there is a certain amount of bodily exertion ; 
no benefit is to be derived from cards or dice or any 
pastimes of that kind : the only effect of such amusements 
is to increase the natural tendency to idleness,* which is 
the source of such a variety of evils. Just as there is no 
good to be derived from unceasing work, so by continu- 
ous play the intelligence is apt to get blunted, for thereby 
the body only is strengthened, the mind is not disciplined 
at all ; and as the latter must be engaged in something or 
other, is it to be wondered at that in such a condition it 
should adopt an evil rather than a good course ? It is 
thus that many boys come to grief. 

• ' Matilall and his companions Haladhar and Gadadhar 
roamed about everywhere like so many Brahmini bulls, do- 
ing just as they pleased and paying no attention to any one. 
They were constantly amusing themselves either with cards 



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24 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

and dice or eke with kites and pigeon-flying. They could 
find no time either for regular meals or for sleep. If 
a servant came to call them into the house, they would 
only abuse him, and refuse to go in. If ever the maid 
came to tell them that her mistress could not retire to 
rest until they had had their supper, they would abuse 
her in a disgraceful manner. The maid-servant would 
sometimes retort: "What courteous language you have 
learned I" All the most worthless boys of the neighbourhood 
gradually collected together and formed a band. Noise and 
confusion reigned supreme in the house all day and 
.'night, and people in the reception-room could not hear 
each other's voices : the only sounds were those of 
uproarious merriment. So much tobacco and ganja was 
consumed that the whole place was darkened with smoke : 
no one dared pass by that way when this company was 
assembled, and there was not a man who would venture to 
forbid such conduct. Becharam Babu indeed was disgusted 
when the smell of the tobacco reached him, as it occasion- 
ally did; but he would only give vent to his favourite 
exclamation of disgust and impatience. 

Most terrible of all evils are the evils that spring from 
association with others. Even where there is unremitting 
attention on the part of parents and teachers, evil com- 
pany may bring ruin ; but where no such effort is made, 
the extent of corruption that association with others 
brings about cannot be estimated in language. MatilalPs 
character, far from improving, was, by the aid of his present 
associates, deteriorating day by day. He might attend school 
for one or two days in the week, but would merely remain 
seated there like a. dummy, treating the whole* thing as a 
supreme bore. He was continually joking with the other 
boys or drawing on his slate ; would scarce attend for five 
minutes together to his lessons; and could think of no- 



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TBE SPOtLT CHILD. 25 

thing but the fine time he would have with his companions 
out of school. There are teachers possessed of sufficient 
skill and tact to draw to the acquisition of knowledge 
the mind of even such a boy as Matilall : being acquaint- 
ed with various methods of imparting instruction, they 
adopt that which is likely to prove most efficacious in 
each particular case. Now the teaching in Mr. Charles* 
school was as indifferent as the teaching in Govern- 
ment schools often is at the present day. Equal atten- 
tion was not paid to all the classes and all the boys, 
and no pains were taken to ascertain whether they 
thoroughly understood the easy books they had to read 
before they proceeded to more difficult ones. A good many 
people are firmly convinced that a school derives its 
importance from the number of books prescribed, and 
the amount read. It was considered quite sufficient for 
the boys to repeat their lessons by heart : it was not 
supposed to be necessary to know whether they under- 
stood or not ; and it was never taken into consideration 
at all whether the education they were receiving was one 
that would fit them for the practical business of after- 
life. Unless influences are very strong in their favour, 
boys attending such schools have not much chance of re- 
ceiving any education at all. Take into account Matilall's 
father, the companions he had collected about him, the 
place he was living in, the school he was attending, and 
some idea may be formed of the extent of his intellec- 
tual training. 

Teachers vary as much as schools do. One man will take 
immense pains, while another will simply trifle away his 
times, fidgetting about and pulling his moustache. Mr. 
Charles' factotum was Bakreswar Babu, of Batalata ; and he 
could do nothing without him. This man made it his prac- 
tice to visit his pupils' rich parents, and say to them all alike: 



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26 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

u Ah sir, I always pay special attention to your boy I he is 
the true son of his father : he is no ordinary boy, that : he 
is a perfect model of a boy." Bakreswar Babn had charge 
of the education of the higher classes in the school, but it was 
exceedingly doubtful whether he himself understood what 
he taught. If thi^ had got generally known he would have 
been disgraced for life, so he kept very quiet on the sub- 
ject. His sole work was to make the boys read ; and if 
any boy asked him for the meaning of a word, he would 
bid him look in the dictionary. He was bound of course 
to make a few corrections here and there in the translation 
exercises the boys did for him ; for if he were to pass them 
all as correct, where would be his occupation as a school- 
master ? So he would make corrections, even when there 
was no necessity for doing so, and when by doing so he 
actually made mistakes which did not exist before : then if 
the boys asked him what he was about, he would tell them 
they were very insolent and had no business to contradict 
him. He generally paid most attention to rich men's sons, 
and would question them at length about the rents and 
value of their property. In a very short time, Matilall 
became a great favourite with Bakreswar Babu : the boy 
would bring him presents of flowers or fruit or books, 
or handkerchiefs. Bakreswar Babu's idea was that he 
ought not to let boys like Matilall slip out of his hands, for 
when they reached man's estate, they might become as a 
"field of beguns" to him, — a perpetual source of profit. 
What benefit too, he thought, would he derive in the next 
world from looking after the affairs of this school ! 

The time of the great autumn festival, the Durga 
Pujah, had now arrived. In the bazaars and everywhere 
there was a great stir, and the general bustle and confusion 
gave additional zest to MatilalPs passion for amusement. 
He suffered agonies so long as he had to remain in school : 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 27 

his attention was perpetually distracted ; at one moment 
sitting at his desk, at the next playing on it ; never still 
for a single moment. One Saturday he had been attend- 
ing school as usual, and having got a half-holiday out 
of Bakreswar Babu, had left for home. On his way 
he purchased some betel and pan, and was proceeding 
merrily along, his whole attention fixed on the pigeon 
and kite shops that lined the road, and taking no note 
of the passers-by, when suddenly a sergeant of police and 
some constables came up and caught him by the arm, the 
sergeant telling him that he held a warrant for his arrest, 
and that he must go quietly along with him. Matilall 
did his best to get his arm free, but the sergeant was a 
powerful man and kept a firm grasp as he dragged him 
along. Matilall next threw himself on the ground and, 
bruised all over and covered with dust as he was, made 
repeated efforts to escape : the sergeant thereupon hit him 
with his fist several times. At last, as he lay overpowered 
on the ground, the thought of his father caused the boy 
to burst into tears, and there rose forcibly in his mind 
the question: " Why have I acted as I Liva done ? Associa- 
tion with others has been my ruin." A crowd now began 
to collect in the road, and people asked each other what was 
the matter. Some old women discussing the affair inquired: 
" Whose child is this that they are beating so ? — the child 
with the moon-face ? ah, it makes one's heart bleed to hear 
him cry !" The sun had not set when Matilall was brought 
to the police-station : there he found Haladhar, Gadadhar, 
Ramgovinda and Dolgovinda, with other boys from his 
neighbourhood, all standing aside, looking extremely 
woe-begone. Mr. Blaquiere was police magistrate at that 
time, and it would have been his business to examine 
the prisoners ; but he had gone home, so they had to 
remain for the night in the lock-up. 



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CHAPTER V. 
Baburam in Calcutta. 
Singing snatches of a popular love-song :— 

•'For my lost love's sake I am dying : 
" And my heart is faint with sighing." 

and varying his song with whistling, Meeah Jan, a cart- 
man, was urging his bullocks along the road, abusing 
them roundly for their slowness, twisting their tails, and 
whacking them with his whip. A few clouds were over- 
head, and a little rain was falling. The bullocks as they 
went lumbering along, succeeded in overtaking the hired 
gharry in which Premnarayan Mozoomdar was travelling. 
It was swaying from side to side in the wind : the two 
horses were wretched specimens of their kind, and must 
surely have belonged to the far-famed race of the Pakshi- 
raj, king of birds. They were doing their best to get 
.along, poor beasts, but notwithstanding the blows that 
rained down on their backs from the driver's whip, their 
pace did not mend very considerably. Before starting 
on his journey, Premnarayan had eaten a very hearty 
meal, and at each jolt of the gharry his heart was in 
his mouth. His disgust however increased as the bullock 
cart drew ahead of his vehicle. Premnarayan need not be 
blamed for this. Every man has some self-respect which 
he does not care to lose. The majority have a high opi- 
nion of themselves, and while some lose their tempers if 
there is the slightest failing in the respect they think due 
to them, others feel humiliated and depressed. 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 20 

Premnarayan, in his passion, expressed his thoughts thus 
to himself: — "Ah! what a hateful thing is service. The 
servant is regarded as no better than a dog I he must run 
to execute any order that is given. How long has my soul 
been vexed by the rude behaviour of Haladhar, Gadadhar, 
and the other boys ! They would never let me eat or sleep 
in peace : they have even ^composed songs in derision of 
me : their jests have been as irritating to me as ant-bites ; 
they have signalled to other bop in the street to annoy 
me : they have gone so far as to clap their hands at me 
behind my back. Can any one submit tamely to such 
treatment as this ? It is enough to drive a sane man out 
of his senses. I must have a good stock of courage not to 
have run away from Calcutta long ago : it is due to my 
good genius only that so far I have not lost my employ- 
ment. At last the scoundrels have met with their deserts : 
may they now rot in jail, never to get out again ! 
Yet after all these are idle words ; is not my journey 
being made with the express object of effecting their 
release? has not this duty been imposed upon me by my 
employer? Alas, I have no voice in the matter ! if men 
are not to starve, they must do and bear all this." 

Baburam Babu of Vaidyabati was seated in all a 
Babu's state ; his servant, Hari, was rubbing his master's 
feet. " Seated on one side of him the pandits were 
discussing some trivial points relating to certain obser-r 
vances enjoined by the Shastras, such as : — "Pumpkins 
may be eaten to-day, beguns shduld not be eaten to-mor- 
row ; to take milk with salt is quite as bad as eating the 
flesh of cows." On the other side of him, some friends 
were engaged in a game of chess : one of them was in 
deep thought, his head supported on his hand : evidently 
his game was up, he was checkmated. Some musicians 
fai the room were mingling their harmonies, their instru- 



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30 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

ments twanging noisily. Near him were his mohurrirs 
writing up their ledgers, and before him stood sundry 
creditors, tenants of his, and tradesmen from the bazaar, 
some of whose accounts were passed, and others refused. 
People kept throngipg into the reception-room. Certain 
of his tradespeople were explaining how they had been 
supplying him for years with on$-»thing and another, and 
now were in great distress, having hitherto received 
nothing by way of payment ; how, moreover, from their 
constant journeyings to and fro, their business was being 
utterly neglected and ruined. Retail shopkeepers too, such 
as oilmen, timber-merchants and sweetmeat-sellers, were 
complaining bitterly that they were ruined, and that their- 
lives were not worth a pin's head : if he continued to treat 
them as he was doing, they could not possibly live : they 
had worn out the muscles of their legs in their constant 
journeyings to and fro to get payment : their shops were 
all shut, their wives and children starving. The whole 
time of the Babu's dewan was taken up in answering the& 
people. " Go away for the present," he was saying, " yoti 
will receive payment all right ; why do you jabber so 
much ?" Did any of them venture to remonstrate, Baburam 
Babu would scowl, abuse him roundly, and have him for- 
cibly ejected from the room. 

A great many of the wealthy Babus of Bengal take the 
goods of the simple country-folk on credit : it would give 
them an attack of fever to have to pay ready-money for 
anything. They have the cash in their chests, but if 
they were not to keep putting their creditors off, how could 
they keep thair reception-rooms crowded? Whether a poor 
tradesman lives or dies is no concern of theirs; only let 
them play the magnifico, and their fathers' and grand- 
fathers' names be kept before the public ! Many there 
are who thus make a false show of being rich; they 



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TBE SPOILT CHILD. 31 

present a splendid figure before the outside world, while 

within they are but men of straw after all. 

•• Oat of doors 70a flannt it brarely, wealth is in yonr Tery air : 

M In the house the rats are eqnealing, and the cupboard's mostly bare." 

It would be death to them to be obliged to regulate their 
expenditure by their income, for then they could not be 
the owners of gardens or live the luxurious life of the rich 
Babu. By keeping up a fine exterior they hope to throw 
dust in the eyes of their tradesmen. When they take 
money or goods from others, they practically borrow twice 
over; for when pressure is brought to bear upon them to 
make them pay, they borrow from one man only to pay 
what they owe someone else ; and when at last a sum- 
mons is issued against them, they register their property 
under another person's name, and are off. somewhere out 
of the way for the time being. 

Baburam Babu was devoted to his money and very 
close-fisted : it was always a great grief to him to be 
obliged to take cash out of his chest. He was engaged 
in wrangling with his tradespeople when Premnarayan 
arrived, and whispered in his ear the news from Calcutta. 
Baburam was ithunderstruck for a time. When shortly 
after he recovered himself, he had Mokajan Meeah sum- 
moned to his presence. Now Mokajan was skilled in all 
matters of law. Zemindars, indigo planters, and others 
were continually going to him for advice ; for a man like 
this, gifted with such ability for making np cases, for sub- 
orning witnesses, for getting police and other officers of 
the court under his thumb, for disposing secretly of stolen 
property, for collecting witnesses in cases of disputes, and 
generally for making right appear wrong and wrong right, 
was not to be found every day. Out of compliment to him, 
people all called him Thahchacha : this was a great grati- 
fication to him, and his thoughts often shaped themselves 



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32 \ THE SPOILT CHILD. 

i 

thus: €< At, my birth must have taken glace at an auspicious 
moment ! my observances of the seasons of JRamjan and 
Eed have answered well; and if I am only properly 
attentive to my patron saint, I fancy my importance will 
increase still further." Though engaged in his ablutions 
at the time that Baburara Babu's peremptory summons 
reached him, he came away at one and listened, in private, ' 
to all Baburam had to say. After a few minutes' reflec- 
tion, he said : "Why be alarmed, Babu ? How many hun- 
dred cases of a similar kind have I disposed of ! Is there 
any great difficulty in the way this time ? I have some 
very clever fellows in my employ ; I have only to take 
them with me, and will win the case on their testimony: 
you- need be under no apprehension. I am going away 
just now, but I will return the first thing in the morning." 
Baburam, though somewhat encouraged by these words, 
was still not at all comfortable in his mind. He was much 
attached to his wife, and everything she said was always, 
in his view, shrewdly to the point : were she to say to 
him. "This is not water, it is milk," with the evidence 
of his own eyes against him, he would reply: "Ah, you 
are quite right! this is not water, it is milk. If the 
mistress of the house says so, it must be so." Most men, 
whatever the affection they have for their wives are at 
least abla to exercise some discretion as to the matters in ' 
which those ladies are to be consulted and to what extent 
they should be listened to. Good men love their wives with 
heartfelt affection ; but if they are to accept e very thin <r 
their wives say they may just as well dress in saris, and 
sit at home. Now Baburam Babu was entirely under his 
wife's thumb: if she bade him get up, he would get up ; 
if she bade him sit down, he would sit down. 

Some months before this, she had presented her husband 
with a son, and she was busy nursing the infant qn her 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 93 

• 
lap, her two daughters seated by her. Their conversation 
was running on household affairs and other matters, 
when suddenly the master of the house came into the 
room and sitting down with a very sad countenance, said : 
44 My dear wife, I am most unlucky ! The one idea of 
my life has been to hand over the charge of all my pro- 
perty to Matilall on his reaching man's estate, and to go 
and live with you at Benares ; but all my hopes have, I 
fear, been dashed to the ground." 

The Mistress of the House. — my dear husband, what 
is the matter ? Quick, tell me ! my breast is heaving 
with emotion. Is all well with my darling Matilall ? 

The Master. — yes, so far as his health goes he is 
well enough, but I have just received news that the police 
have apprehended him and put him in jail. 

The Mistress. — What was that you said? They have 
dragged away Matilall to prison ? And why, why, my 
husband, have they imprisoned him ? Alas, alas ! The 
poor boy must be a mass of bruises I I expect, too, he 
has had nothing to eat and not been able to get any 
sleep. my husband, what is to be done ? Do bring my 
darling Matilall back to me again ! 

With this, the mistress of the house began to weep : 
her two daughters wiped away the tears from her eyes, 
and tried their best to console their mother. The infant 
too seeing its mother crying, began to howl lustily. 

In the course of his enquiries, made under pretence of 
.conversation, her husband got to know that Matilall had 
been in the habit, under one pretext or another, of getting 
money out of her. She had not mentioned the matter to 
her husband for fear of his displeasure : the boy had been 
unfortunate, and she could not tell what might have hap- 
pened if he had got angry. Wives ought to tell all that 
concerns their children to their husbands, for a disease 
o, so 3 



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34 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

that i3 concealed from the surgeon can never be cured. 
After a long consultation with his wife, the master sent 
off a letter by night, to arrange for some of his relatives 
to meet him in Calcutta at his lodgings. 

A night of happiness passes away in the twinkling of an 
•eye, but how slowly drag the hours when the mind is sunk 
in an abyss of painful thought ! It may be close to dawn, 
and the day may be every moment drawing nearer, but 
yet it seems to tarry. Ways and means occupied the whole 
of Baburam Babu's thoughts throughout the night: he could 
no longer remain quietly in the house, and long before 
the mojning came was in a boat with Thakchacha and 
his companions. As the tide was running strong, the boat 
soon reached the Bagbazaar Ghat. 

Night had nearly come to an end : oil-dealers were 
busy putting their mills in order, ready to work : cart- 
men were leading their bullocks off to their day's toil : 
the washermen's donkeys were labouring with their loads 
upon the road : men were hurrying along at a swing-trot 
• with loads of fish and vegetables. The pandits of the 
place were all off with their sacred vessels to the river for 
their morning bathe ; the women were collecting at the 
different ffh&ts and exchanging confidences with each 
other. " I am suffering agonies from my sister-in-law's 
cruelty," said one. "Ah, my spiteful mother-in-law !*" 
exclaimed another. " Oh, my friends ! " cried another, 
"I have no wish to live any longer, my daughter-in-law 
tyrannises over me so, and my son says nothing to her ; in 
fact, she has made my son like a sheep with her charms." 
"Alas!" said another, "I have such a wretch of a 
sister-in-law I she tyrannises over me day and night." 
♦Another lamented, "My darling child is now ten years 
old ; my life is sb uncertain, it is high time for me to think 
of getting him married." 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 35 

There had befsx rain in the night, and patches of clond 
were still to be seen in the sky ; the roads and the steps 
of the gh&tt were all slippery in consequence. Babnram 
Babu puffed away at his hooka and looked out for a 
hired gharry or a palki, but he would not agree to the 
fare demanded : it was a great deal too much to his 
mind. When the boys who had collected in the road saw 
how Baburam Babu was chaffering, some of them said to 
him: "Had you not better, sir, be carried in a coolie's 
basket ? The charge for that will be only two pice." As 
Baburam Babu ran after them and tried to hit them, 
roundly abusing them the while, he fell heavily to the 
ground. The boys only laughed at this and clapped their 
hands at him from a safe distance. Baburam with a woe- 
begone countenance then got into a gharry with Thakcha- 
cha and his companions. The gharry went creaking along, 
and eventually pulled up at the house of Bancharam Babu, 
of Outer Simla. 

Bancharam Babu was the principal agent of a Mr. 
Butler, an attorney living in Boitakhana ; he had had 
a good deal of experience in the law-courts and in cases- 
afc-law : though his pay was only fifty rupees a month, 
there was no limit to his gains, and festivals were always 
in full swing in his house. 

Beni Babu of Bally, Becharam Babu of Bow Bazar, 
and Bakreswar Babu of Batalata, were all seated in his 
sitting-room, waiting for Baburam Babu. "With the arrival 
of that worthy the business of the day commenced. 

Becharam. — Oh Baburam, what a venomous reptile 
have you been nourishing all this time ! You would never 
listen to me, though time after time I sent word to you. 
Your boy Matilall has pretty well done for his chances in 
this world and in the next : he drinks his fill, he gambles, 
he eats things forbidden : caught in the very act of gamb- 



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86 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

ling, he struck a policeman : Haladhar, Gadadhar, and 
other boys were with him at the time. Having no chil- 
dren of my own, I had fondly thought that Haladhar and 
Gadadhar would be as sons to me, to offer the customary 
libation to my spirit when I was no more, but my hopes 
* are as goor into which sand has fallen. I really have no 

words to express my disgust at the boy's behaviour. 

Baburam. — Which of them has corrupted the other it 
may be very difficult to say with any certainty ; but just 
now please tell me how I am to proceed with reference to 
the investigation. 
J? Becharam. — So far as I am concerned, you may do 

exactly as you think fit. I have been put to very great 
[ i annoyance. The boys have been going into the temple at 

| ! night and drinking heavily there : they have made the 

beams black with the smoke from tobacco and ganja : they 
have stolen my gold and silver ornaments and sold them ; 
and one day they even went so far as to threaten to 
grind the holy shalgram to powder and eat it with their 
betel in lieu of lime. Can you expect me then to sub- 
scribe towards their release ? Ugh ! certainly not. 

Bakreswar. — Matilall is not so bad as all that: I have 
seen a good deal of him at school: he has naturally a good 
disposition. He was no ordinary boy ; he was a perfect 
model of behaviour : how then he can have become what 
you describe is beyond me. ; - 

Thakchacha. — May I ask what need there is of all this 
irrelevant talk? We are not likely to get our stomachs 
filled by simply chatting of oil and straw : let a case be 
thoroughly well got up for the trial. 

.. Banchatam [ highly delighted at the prospect of making 
a good thing out of the case."] — Matters of business 
require a man of business. Thakchacha's words are 
shrewdly to the point : we must get a few good witnesses 



U 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 87 

together and have them thoroughly instructed in their 
r6U betimes ; we must also engage our friend Mr. Butler 
the attorney. If after all that we do not win our case, 
I will take it up to the High Court. Then if the High 
Court can do nothing, I will go up to the Council with the 
case ; and if the Council can do nothing, we must carry it 
to England for appeal. You may put implicit confidence 
in me : I am not a man to be trifled with. But nothing 
can be done unless we secure the services of Mr. Butler. 
He is a thoroughly practical man : knows all manner of 
contrivances for upsetting cases, and trains his witnesses 
as carefully as a man trains birds. 

Bakresitar* — A keen intelligence is needed in time of 
misfortune. A very careful preparation for the trial is 
required : why be jeered at for want of it ? 

Bancharanu — So clever an attorney as Mr. Butler it 
has never fallen to my lot to see. I have no language 
capable of expressing his astuteness : three words will 
suffice for him to have all these cases dismissed. Come, 
gentlemen, rise and let us go to him. 

BenL — Pardon me, sir, I could not do what I know to 
be wrong, even were my life at stake 1 I am prepared to 
follow your advice in most matters, but I cannot risk my 
chances of happiness in the next world. It is best to 
acknowledge a fault if one has really been committed : 
there is no danger in truth, whereas to take refuge in a 
lie only intensifies an evil. 

Thakckacha. — Ha ! ha ! what business have bookworms 
with law ? The very mention of the word sets them all a- 
tremble !' If we take the course this gentleman advises, we 
may as well at once prepare our graves ! Sage counsels 
indeed to listen to ! 

Bancharam. — At this rate, gentlemen, it will be the 
case of the old proverb over again, — "The festival is over, 



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38 TEE SPOILT CHILD. 

and your preparations still progressing." I have no doubt 
that Beni Babu is a man of very solid parts ; why, in the 
Niti Shastras, he is a second Jagannath Tarkapancha- 
nanl I shall have to go some day to Bally to hold an 
argument with him, but we have no time for that just 
now ; we must be up and doing. 

Becharam. — Ah, Beni my friend, I am quite of your 
mind 1 1 am getting an old man now : already three periods 
of my life have passed away and one only is left to me. 
I too will do no wrong, even if my life be at stake. Who 
are these boys that I should do what is wrong for them ? 
They have made my life a perfect burden to me. Shall 
I be put to any expense for them ? Certainly not : they 
may go to jail for all I care, and then perhaps I may con- 
trive to live in peace. Why should I trouble myself any 
more about them? The very sight of their fa'ces makes my 
blood boil. Ugh I the young wretches I 



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CHAPTER VI. 
Matilall's Mother and Sisters. 
The Vaidyabati house was all astir with preparations for 
a religious ceremonial. The sun had not risen when Shri- 
dhar Bhattacharjea, Ram Gopal Charamani and other 
Brahman priests, set to work repeating mantras. All were 
employed upon something: one was offering the sacred 
basil to the deity : some were busy picking the leaves of 
the jessamine : others humming and beating time on their 
cheeks. One was remarking : " I am no Brahman if good 
fortune does not attend the sacrifices;" and another, 
"If things turn out inauspiciously, I will abandon my 
sacred thread." The whole household was busily engaged, 
but not a member of it was happy in mind. The mistress 
of the house was sitting at an open window and calling 
in her distress upon her guardian deity : her infant boy lay 
near her, playing with a toy and tossing his little limbs in 
the air. Every now and again she glanced in the direc- 
tion of the child, and said to herself: "Ah my darling, I 
cannot say what kind of destiny awaits you ! To be child- 
less is a single sorrow and anxiety : multiplied a hundred- 
fold is the misery that comes with children. How is a 
mother's mind distracted if her child has the slightest 
complaint! she will cheerfully sacrifice her life in order 
to get him well again : so long as her babe is ill, all 
capacity for food and sleep deserts her : day and night 
to her are alike. If a child who has caused her so 
much sorrow grows up good, she feels her work accom- 
plished; but if the contrary be the case, a living death 



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40 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

is hers : she takes no interest in anything in the world and 
cares not to show herself in the neighbourhood. The 
haughty face grows wan and pinched : in her inmost 
heart, like Sita, she gives expression to this wish : 
' Oh, Earth, Earth, open, and let me hide myself within 
thy bosom ! ' The good God knows what trouble I have 
taken to make Matilall a man : my young one has now 
learned to fly, and heavy is my chastisement. How it 
grieves me to hear of such evil conduct: I am almost 
heartbroken with sorrow and chagrin. I have not told 
my husband all : he might have gone mad had he heard 
all. Away with these thoughts ! I can endure them no 
longer : I am but a weak woman. What will such laments 
' avail me now ? what must be, must be." 

A maid-servant came in at that moment and took the 
child away, and the mistress of the house engaged in her 
daily religious duties. 

Man's mind is so" constituted that it cannot readily 

forget any particular matter it may "be absorbed in, to 

r attend to other affairs in hand. When therefore she 

tried to perform her usual devotions, she found herself 

unable to do so. Again and again she set herself to fix 

her attention on the mantras she had to repeat, but her 

" mind kept wandering : the thought of Matilall surged up 

like a strong and irresistible flood. At one time she fancied 

that the orders for his imprisonment had been passed, 

: and her imagination depicted him as already in fetters, 

and being led off to jail : she even thought she saw his 

father standing near him, his head bowed down in woe, 

weeping bitterly ; and again she almost fancied that her 

* son was come to see her, and was 3aying to her : " Mother, 

forgive me : what is past cannot now be mended, but I 

will never again cause you such trouble and sorrow." She 

then began to dream of some great calamity as about to 



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TBS SPOILT CHILD. 41 

befall Matilall, — that be would be transported perhaps 
for life. When these phantoms of her imagination had 
left her, she began to say to herself : " Why, it is now 
high noon ! can I have been dreaming? No, snrely this 
is no dream ! I mnst have seen a vision. I wish I conld 
tell why my mind is so distracted to-day !" With these 
words she laid herself silently down on the ground, and 
wept bitterly. 

Her two daughters, Mokshada and Pramada, were 
busy drying their hair on the roof, and Mokshada was 
saying to her sister: "Why sister Pramada, you have 
not half combed your hair, and how dry it is too ! But it 
must be so, for it is ages since a drop of oil fell upon it. 
It is just the use of oil and water that keeps people in 
good health : to bathe once a month, and without using oil, 
would be bad for any one. But why are you so wrap- 
ped in thought ? anxiety and trouble are making you as 
thin as a string." 

Pramada. — Ah, my sister, how can I help thinking ? 
Cannot you understand it all? Our father brought the 
son of a Kulin Brahmin here when I was a mere child 
and married me to him. I only heard about this when I 
was grown up. Considering the number of the different 
places where he has contracted marriage, and considering 
his personal character too, I have no wish to see his face : 
I would rather not have a husband at all than such a one. 

Mokshada. — Hush, my dear ! you must not say that. 
It is an advantage to a woman to have a husband alive, 
whether his character be bad or ffood. 

o 

Pramada. — Listen then to what I have to tell you. Last 
year, when I was suffering from intermittent fever and had 
been lying long days and nights on my bed, too weak to 
rise, my husband came one day to the house. From the 
time of my. earliest impressions, I had never seen what a 



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42 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

husband was like : my idea was that there was no treasure 
a woman could possess like a husband, and I thought that 
if he only came and sat with me for a few moments and 
spoke to me, my pain would be alleviated. But, my sister* 
you will not believe me when I say it ! he came to my 
bedside,. and said: "You are my lawful wife, I married 
you sixteen years ago : I have come to see you now be- 
cause I am in need of money, and will go away again 
directly : I have told your father that he has cheated me : 
come, give me that bracelet off your wrist ! " I told him 
that I would first ask my mother, and would do what she 
bade me. Thereupon he pulled the bracelet off my 
wrist by brute force ; and when I struggled to prevent his 
doing so, he gave me a kick and left me. I fainted away, 
and did not recover till mother came and fanned me. 

Mokshada. — Oh my dear sister Pramada, your story 
brings tears into my eyes. But consider, you still have a 
husband living : I have not even that. , 

Pramada. — A fine husband indeed, my sister I Happily 
for me, I once spent some time with my uncle, and 
learned to read and write and to do a little fancy work 
with my needle ; so by constant work during the day and 
by a little occasional reading, writing or sewing, I keep my 
trouble hidden. If I sit idle for any time, and begin to 
think, my heart burns with indignation. 
• Mokshada. — "What else can it do ? Ah, it is because of 
the many sins committed by us in previous births that we 
are suffering as we are ! It is by plenty of hard work that 
our bodies and minds retain their vigour : idleness only 
causes evil thoughts and evil imaginations and even disease 
to get a stronger hold upon us : it was uncle that told me 
that. I have done all I can to soften the pains of widow- 
hood. I always reflect that everything is in God's hands : 
reliance upon Him is the real secret of life. My dear 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 43 

sister, if yon so constantly ponder on yonr grief, you will 
be overwhelmed in the ocean of anxiety : it is an ocean 
that has no shore. What good can possibly result from 
so much brooding ? Just do all your religious and secular 
duties as well as you can : honour our father and mother 
in everything : attend to the welfare of our two brothers : 
nourish and cherish any children they may have, and 
they will be as your own. 

Pramada. — Ah my sister, what you say is indeed true, 
but then our elder brother has gone altogether astray*. 
He is given over to vicious ways and vicious companions ; 
and as his disposition has changed for the worse, so his 
affection for his parents and for us has lessened. Ah, the 
affection that brothers have for their sisters is not one- 
hundredth part of the affection that sisters have for their 
brothers ! In their devotion to their brothers, sisters will 
even risk their lives ; but brothers always think that they 
will get on much better if they can only be rid of their 
sisters ! We are Matilall's elder sisters : if he comes near 
us at all, he may perhaps make himself agreeable for a short 
time, and we may congratulate ourselves upon it ; but then 
have wo any influence whatever upon his conduct ? 

Mokshcula. — All brothers are not like that. There are 
brothers who regard their elder sisters as they would their 
mother, and their younger sisters as they would a daughter. 
I am speaking the truth : there are brothers who look 
upon their sisters in the same light as they do their bro- 
thers : they are unhappy unless they are free to converse 
with them ; and if they fall into any danger, they risk their 
lives to save them. 

Pramada. — That is very true, but it is our lot to have a 
brother just in keeping with our unhappy destiny. Alas, 
there is no such thing as happiness in this world ! 



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44 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

At this moment, a maid-servant came to tell them her 
mistress was crying : the two sisters rushed downstairs 
as soon as they heard it. 

It was a fine moonlight evening, the moon shedding 
her radiance over the breadth of the Ganges. A gentle 
♦breeze was diffusing the sweet fragrance of the wild jungle 
flowers ; the waves danced merrily in the moonlight : 
the birds in a neighbouring grove were calling to each 
other in their varied notes. Beni Babu was seated at the 
Deonagaji Ghat, looking about him and singing snatches 
of some up-country song on the loves of Krishna and 
Kadha. He was completely absorbed in his music and was 
beating time to it, when suddenly he heard somebody be- 
hind him calling his name and echoing his song. Turning 
round, he saw Becharam Babu of Bow Bazar : he at once 
rose, and invited his guest to take a seat. 

Becharam opened the conversation. " Ah ! Beni, my 
friend ! those were home truths you told Baburam Babu 
to-day. I have been invited to your village: and as I was 
so pleased with what I saw of you the other day, I wanted 
to come and call on you just once before leaving." 

Beni. — Ah, my friend Becharam, we are poor sort of 
folk here ! We have to work for our living : we prefer to 
visit places where the secrets of knowledge or virtue are 
investigated. We have a good many rich relatives and 
Acquaintances, but we feel embarrassed in their presence ; 
we visit them very occasionally, when we have fallen 
into any trouble, or have any very particular business on 
hand. It is never, a pleasure to call on upon them, and 
when we do go we derive no intellectual benefit from the 
visit ; for whatever respect rich men may show to other rich 
men, they have not much to say to us ; they just remark 
? It is very hot to-day. How is your business getting on ? 
Is it flourishing ? Have a smoke ? " If only they speak 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 45 

cheerfully and pleasantly to us, we are folly satisfied. 
Ah, learning and worth have nothing like the respect 
shown to them that is shown to wealth ! Paying court to 
rich men is a very dangerous thing : there is a popular 
saying: — "The friendship of the rich is an embank- 
ment made of sand." Their moods are capricious : a trifle 
will offend them just as a trifle will please them. People 
do not consider this : wealth has such magic in it that 
they will put up with any humiliation, any indignity 
from a rich man ; they will even submit to a thrashing, 
and say to the rich man after it : — " It is your honour's 
good pleasure." However this be, it is a hard thing 
to live with the rich and not forfeit one's chances of hap- 
piness in the next world. In that affair of to-day, for 
instance, we had a hard struggle for the right. 

Becharam. — From observation of Baburam Babu's 
general behaviour, I am inclined to think that his affairs 
are not prospering. Alas, alas, what counsellors he has 
got ! That wretched Mahomedan, Thakchacha, a prince 
of rogues ! there is an evil magic in him. Then Bancha- 
ram, the attorney's clerk ! he is like a fine mango, 
fair outside but rotten at the core. Well-practised in 
all the arts of chicanery, like a cat treading stealthily 
along in the wet, he simulates innocence while all the 
while exercising his wiles to entrap his prey. Any- 
body falling under the influence of that sorcery would be 
utterly, and for ever, ruined. Then there is Bakreswar 
the schoolmaster, a teacher of ethics forsooth ! A passed 
master indeed in the art of cajolery, a very prince of 
flatterers !, Ugh ! But tell me, is it your English education 
that has given you this high moral standard ? 

Bent. — Have I this high moral standard you attri- 
bute to me ? It is only your kindness to say so. The slight 
acquaintance I have with morality is entirely due to the 



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46 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

kind favour of Barada Babu, of Badaragan : I lived with 
him for some time, and he very kindly gave me some 
excellent advice. 

Becharam. — Who is this Barada Babn ? Please tell me 
some particulars abont him. It is always a pleasure to 
me to hear anything of this kind. 

Bern. — Barada Babu's home is in Eastern Bengal, in 
Pergunnah Etai Kagamari. On the death of his father 
he moved to Calcutta, and found great difficulty at first 
in providing himself with food and clothing :' he had not 
even the wherewithal to buy his daily meal. But from his 
boyhood he had always engaged in meditation upon divine 
things, and so it was that when trouble befell him it did 
not affect him so much. At this time he used to live in 
a common tiled hut, his only means of subsistence being 
the two rupees a month which he received from a younger 
brother of his father's. He was on terms of intimacy with 
a few good men and would associate with none but these : 
he was very independent, and refused to be under obliga- 
tions to anybody. Not having the means to keep either a 
man-servant or a maid-servant, he did all his own market- 
ing, cooking for himself as well ; and he did not neg- 
lect his studies even when he' was cooking. Morning 
noon and night, he calmly and peacefully meditated on 
God. The clothes in which he attended school were torn 
•and dirty, and excited the derision of rich men's sons : 
he pretended not to hear them when they laughed and 
jeered at him, and eventually succeeded by his pleasant 
and courteous address in winning them completely 
over. With very many, pride is the only result of 
English learning : they scorn the very earth they live 
-on. This however found no place in the mind of Barada 
:Babu: his disposition was too calm and mild. When 
he had completed his education he left school, and at 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 47 

once obtained employment as a teacher, on thirty 
rupees a month. He then took his mother, his wife 
and his two nephews to live with him, and did his 
very utmost to make them comfortable. He wonld also 
look after the wants of the many poor people living in 
his immediate neighbourhood, helping them, as far as 
his means allowed, with money, visiting them when 
they were sick, and supplying them with medicine. As 
none of these poor people could afford to send their child- 
ren to school, he held a class for them himself every 
morning. One of his cousins who had fallen dangerously 
ill after his father's death, recovered entirely, thanks to 
the unremitting attention of Barada Babu, who sat by 
Kb bedside for days and nights together. He was deep- 
ly devoted to his aunt, and regarded her quite as a 
mother. Some men appear to have a contempt for the 
things of this world in comparison with things of eternity, 
like the contempt for death that is characteristic of those 
who are in constant attendance at burning-gr/tdfc. Does 
death or calamity befall any of their friends or kinsfolk, 
the world, they feel, is nothing, and God all. This idea is 
constantly present to the mind of Barada Babu : conversa- 
tion with him and observation of his conduct soon make 
it apparent; but he never parades his opinions before 
the world. He is in no sense ostentatious : he never does 
anything for mere appearance sake. All his good deeds 
are done in secret : numbers of people meet with kindness 
from him, but only the person actually benefited by him 
is aware of it ; and he is much annoyed if others get any 
, inkling of it. Though a man of varied accomplishments, 
he is without a particle of vanity. It is the man who has 
only a smattering of learning who is puffed up with pride 
and self-importance. " Aha! " says such a one to himself, 
* what a very learned man I am ! "Who can write as I do ? 



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4a THE SPOILT CHILD. 

Who is so erudite as I ? How I always do speak to the 
point !" Barada Babu is a different sort of man altogether: 
though his learning is so profound, he never treats the 
thoughts of others as beneath his attention. It does not 
annoy him to hear an opinion expressed opposite to his 
own : on the contrary, he listens with pleasure, and reviews 
his own beliefs. To- describe in detail all his good quali- 
ties would be a long affair, but they may be summed up in 
the remark that so gentle and god-fearing a man has 
rarely been seen 2 he could not do wrong even if his life 
were at stake. Yes, the amount of instruction to be had 
from personal intercourse with Barada Babu far exceeds 
any to be got from books ! 

Becharam. — Ah, how it charms one to hear of a man like 
that ! But now, as it is getting very late, and I have to 
cross the river, I will, with your permission, return home. 
Let me see you for a moment at the police, court to- 
morrow. 



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CHAPTER VII. 
The Trial of Mattlall. 
Vert strange is this world's course, and past man's 
comprehension. How hard it is to determine the causes 
of things ! When we remember for instance the account 
of the origin of Calcutta, it will appear almost miracu- 
lous; for even in a dream none could have imagined that 
Calcutta as it was could ever have become Calcutta as it is* 
The East India Company first had a factory at Hooghly, 
their factor being Mr. Job Charnock. On one occasion 
he quarrelled with the leading police official of the place ; 
and as the East India Company did not in those days 
possess the power and dignity which they afterwards ac- 
quired, their agent was maltreated and forced to have 
recourse to flight. Job Charnock had a house and a bazaar 
of his own at Barrackpur, which in consequence has been 
known as Chanak, even down to the present time. He 
had married a woman whom he had rescued from the 
funeral pile just as she was about to become a suttee; 
but whether the marriage contributed to the mutual hap- 
piness of each, there is no evidence to show. Job Charnock 
was constantly journeying to and fro between Barrackpur 
and Uluberia, where he was building a new factory : it 
was the wish of his heart to have a factory there, but 
how many undertakings fall just short of completion! 
As he journeyed to and fro, he used often to pass by 
Boitakhana, and would halt for a rest and a smoke under 
a large tree there. This tree was the favourite resort 
of many men of business, and Job Charnock was so en- 
o, so 4^ 

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60 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

amoured of the shade of it that he decided upon building 
his factory there. The three villages of Sutanati, Govind- 
par and Calcutta, which he had purchased, soon filled up, 
and it was not long before people of all classes took up 
their abode there for trade, and so Calcutta soon became 
a city, and populous. The first beginnings of Calcutta 
as a city date from the year 1689 of the Christian 
era. Job Charnock died some three years after that. 
In those days the great plain where the Fort and Chow- 
ringhee now are was all jungle. The Fort itself formerly 
stood where the Custom House now stands, and Clive Street 
was the chief business quarter of the city. So fatal to 
health was Calcutta at one time considered, that the 
English gentlemen who had escaped with their lives 
during the year, would annually meet together on the 
15th of November and offer their congratulations to 
each other. One prominent characteristic of Englishmen 
. is to have everything about them scrupulously clean, 
and disease gradually diminished as sanitary precautions 
came more and more into vogue. But the people of 
Bengal do not take this lesson to heart : to the present 
day there are tanks near the houses of our wealthiest 
citizens, which smell so bad that one can hardly approach 
them. 

In former days the duties connected with tjie Revenue 
and Criminal Courts and the Police Administration of 
• Calcutta devolved upon a single Englishman : he had a 
Bengali official as his subordinate, and he himself was 
called the Jemadar. Later on, there came to be other 
Courts; and with the view of checking the high-handedness 
of the English in the country, the Supreme Court was 
established. The administration of the Police was made 
an independent charge, and was very ably conducted. In 
the year 1798 of the Christian era, Sir John Richardson 



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TBE SPOILT CHILD. 61 

and others were employed as Justices of the Peace ; and 
afterwards, in the year 1800, Mr. Blaquiere and others 
were appointed to hold this office. The jurisdiction of the 
Justices extended to every part of the country. When it 
became necessary for the jurisdiction of those who were 
simply Magistrates to extend beyond their head districts, 
the assistance of the Judge's Court of the particular 
district had to be sought, and consequently many Magis- 
trates in the Mofussil have now been made Justices 
of the Peace. Mr. Blaquiere has been dead some four 
years ; it was currently reported that his father was an 
Englishman and his mother a Brahman woman, and that 
he had received his earliest education in India, but had 
afterwards gone to England and been well educated there. 
During his tenure of office as head of the Police Depart- 
ment, Calcutta trembled at his stern severity, and all were 
afraid of him. After some time he gave up the detective 
part of his work and the apprehension of criminals, to 
confine his attention to the trial of prisoners brought 
before him. He made an excellent judge, being well versed 
in the language of the country, its customs, manners, 
and all the inner details of the life of the people. He 
had the Criminal Law too at his fingers 9 ends; and having 
for some time acted as interpreter to the Supreme Court, 
was thoroughly well acquainted with the proper method 
of conducting trials. 

Time and water run apace. Monday came. Ten o'clock 
had just struck by the church clock: the police court 
was crowded with police officers, sergeants, constables, 
darogahs, naibs, sub-inspectors, chowkidars, and with all 
sorts and conditions of people. Some of these were 
keepers of low lodging-houses and women of loose 
character, who sat about the Court chewing betel and pdn: 
some, as their bloodstained clothes sufficiently showed 



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52 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

were victims of assaults: some were thieves, who sat apart 
dejected and sad : som€£~conspicuous by their turbans, were 
engaged in writing out petitions in English. Some were 
complainants in the different cases, who tramped noisily 
about the court ; others, who were to be witnesses, were 
Jbusily whispering to each other : the men who make 
it their business to provide bail were sitting about as 
thick as crows at a ghctt. Here were pleaders' touts, 
using all their arts to get clients for their masters: 
there were pleaders engaged in coaching their witnesses: 
and here the amlahs were writing out cases that had 
been sent up by the Police. The sergeants of police 
looked very important as they marched up and down 
with proud' and pompous port. The ohief clerks were 
discussing different English magistrates: this one was 
declared to be a great fool, that one a very cunning man, 
a third too mild and easily imposed upon, a fourth too 
harsh -and rough; they pronounced also an unfavourable 
criticism on the orders passed the previous day in a 
particular case. The police court was so crowded, indeed, 
that it seemed the very Hall of Yama, and all looked 
forward with fear and trembling to their fate. 

Baburam Babu came bustling up to the court, accom- 
panied by his pleader, his counsellor Thakchacha, and some 
of his relatives. Thakchacha was wearing a conical cap, 
fine muslin clothes, and the peculiar turned-up shoes of 
his class. His crystal beads in hand, he was invoking the 
names of his special guardian genius and his Prophet, and 
muttering his prayers with repeated shakings of the head ; 
but this was all mere ostentation. A man so full of tricks as 
Thakchacha is not met with every day. At the police 
court he spun about hither and^ thither, for all the world 
like a peg-top. At one moment he was coaching his 
witnesses in a whisper ; the next, walking about hand in 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 53 

hand with Baburam Babu ; the next, consulting with 
Mr. Butler: in this way he attracted everybody's attention. 
Now it is a failing with many people to imagine their 
fathers and grandfathers (who may have been great rogues 
in reality) to have been celebrated people, well known to all ; 
and the consequence is that when they have to introduce 
themselves to others they will do so, saying : "I am the son 
of so-and-so, and the grandson of so-and-so." To any- 
body who came up to converse with Thakchacha, he would 
introduce himself as the son of Abdul Rahman Gul, and 
the grandson of Ampak Ghulam Hosain. A sircar in the 
court, who was fond of his joke, remarked to him : " Come, 
tell me what is your special business ? A few low-class 
Mahomedans in your own neighbourhood may perhaps 
know the names of your father and grandfather, but who is 
likely to know them in this ciiy of Calcutta ? perhaps how- 
ever they carried on the profession of syces" Thakchacha, 
his eyes inflamed with passion, replied : "I can say nothing 
here,' as this is the police court : in any other place, I 
would fall upon you and tear you to pieces." As he said 
this, he grasped Baburam Babu's hand in his, to make the 
sircar imagine him a man of much importance, held in 
high honour. 

Meanwhile there was a stir near the steps of the police 
court : a carriage had just driven up : the door was opened, 
and a withered old gentleman alighted from it. The ser- 
geants of police raised their hats in salute, and called out, 
"Mr. Blaquiere has arrived." The magistrate, having 
taken his seat on the bench, disposed first of some cases of 
assault. Matilall's case was then called: The complain- 
ants, Kale Khan and Phate Khan, took up their position 
on one side, while on the other side stood Baburam Babu 
of Vaidyabati, Beni Babu of Bally, Bakreswar Babu of 
Batalata, Becharam Babu of Bow Bazar, and Mr. Butler of 



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54 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

Boitakhana. Baburam Babu was wearing a fine shawl, and 
had a gorgeous turban on his head : his sacred caste mark, 
with the sign of the Horn offering over it, was conspicuous 
on his forehead. With tears in his eyes, and his hands 
folded humbly in supplication, he gazed at the magistrate, 
who, he fondly imagined, would be sure to commiserate 
him if he saw his tears. Matilall, Haladhar, Gadadhar, 
and the other accused, were brought before the magis- 
trate : Matilall stood there, with his head bowed low in 
shame. When Baburam Babu saw the boy's face pinched 
from want of food, his heart was pierced. The complain- 
ants charged the accused with gambling in a place of ill- 
i ! fame, and with having effected their escape when arrested 

i •.! by grievously assaulting them; and they stripped and show- 

: : . ed the marks of the assault upon their persons. Mr. Butler 

<jross-examined the complainants and their witness at some 
length, and conclusively showed that there was no case made 
out against Matilall. This was not at all surprising, consider- 
ing that for one thing he had all a pleader's art exercised 
in his favour, and for another that there was collusion 
between the complainants and the counsel of the accused. 
What will not money do ? An old proverb runs : — 
" Gold for the dotard a fair bride will win. " 
Mr. Butler afterwards produced his witnesses, who all 
declared that on the day the assault was said to have been 
committed, Matilall was at home at Vaidyabati; but on 
. cross-examination by Mr. Blaquiere, they were not so clear. 
Thakchacha saw that things were not going well : a slight 
slip might ruin eyerything. Most people, reduced to the 
necessity of having recourse to law, give up all ideas 
of right and wrong : they sever themselves from all con- 
nection with truth, once they have to enter the Law Courts: 
their sole idea must be to win their case somehow or 
other. Thakchacha then went forward himself, and gave 






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THE SPOILT CHILD. SS 

evidence that on the day and at the time mentioned by 
the prosecution he was engaged teaching Matilall Persian 
at his home in Vaidyabati. Though the magistrate sub- 
jected him to severe cross-examination, Thakchacha was 
not a man to be easily confused : he was well np in law- 
suits, and his original evidence was not shaken in any way. 
Then Mr. Butler addressed the Court, and after some deli- 
beration the magistrate passed orders that Matilall should 
be released, but that the other accused should be impri- 
soned for one calendar month, and pay a fine of thirty 
rupees each. 

Loud were the cries of Jlori Bol on the passing of 
this order, and Baburam Babu shouted : " Oh Incarnation 
of Justice, most acute is your judgment I soon may you 
be made Governor of the land !" 

When they were all in the courtyard of the police court, 
Haladhar and Gadadhar caught sight of Premnaryan Mo- 
zoomdar, and at once commenced singing in his ear with 
the intention of annoying him ; — 

" Hasten homeward, hasten homeward, Premnarayan Mozoomdar, 

44 Hop into your native jangle, black-faced monkey that yon are ! " 

Premnarayan only replied : "What wicked boys you are ! 
Here you are going to jail, but you cannot cease your tricks." 
While he was still speaking, they were led away to. jail. 
When Beni Babu, who was a very worthy god-fearing 
man, saw virtue thus defeated and vice triumphant, he was 
perfectly astounded. Thakchacha, shaking his head and 
smiling sardonically, said to him : u How now, sir, what 
does the man of books say now ? Why, if we had acted in 
accordance with yon suggestions, it would have been all 
up with us." At this moment Bancharam Babu came 
running up in haste, gesticulating and saying : " Ha I 
ha I see what comes of trusting me ! I told you I was no 
fool." Bakreswar too had his say. "Ah, he is no ordinary 



*6 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

boy is Matilall ! he is a very model of what a boy should 
be." " Ugh ! " exclaimed Becharam Babu : " It was not 
I that wished this wrong done : I did'nt want to see this 
case won, far from it." Saying this,, he took Beni Babu's 
hand and went off with him. Baburam Babu having 
made his offerings at Kali's shrine at Kalighat, em- 
barked on a boat to return home. 

Though the Bengalees have always great pride of caste, 
it may sometimes fall out that even a Mahomedan may 
be regarded as worthy of equal honour with the ancestral 
deity, and Baburam Babu began now to regard Thakcha- . 
cha as a veritable Bhishna Deva : he put his arms round 
his neck and forgot everything else in the joy of victory : 
food and devotions were alike neglected. Again and again 
they repeated that Mr. Butler had no equal, that there 
was no one like Bancharam Babuj that Becharam Babu 
and Beni Babu were utter idiots. Matilall gazed all about 
him, at one moment standing on the edge of the boat," at 
another pulling an oar, at another sitting on the roof of 
the cabin or hard at work with the rudder. " "What are 
you doing, boy ? " said Baburam to him, "Do sit quiet for 
a moment, if you can." One of Baburam Babu's garden- 
ers, Shankur Mali, of Kashijora, prepared the Babu's 
tobacco for him : his heart expanded with joy, when he 
saw his master looking so happy, and he asked him : " Will 
you have many nautches at the Durga Pujah this vear, 
sir? Isn't that a cotton factory over there ? How n:any 
cotton factories have these unbelievers set up ?" \ 

Change is the order of things in this world. Anger can- 
not long remain latent in the mind, but must reveal itself 
sooner or later ; and so with a storm in nature, when there . 
is gre&t heat, and a calm atmosphere, a squall may sud- 
denly rise. The sun was just setting, the evening coming 
on, when suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye, a small 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 57 

black cloud rose in the west : in a few minutes deep 
darkness had overspread the sky, and then with a rushing 
roar of wind the storm was on them. No one could see 
his neighbour : the boatmen shouted to each other to 
look out : the lightning flashed, and all were terrified at 
the loud and repeated thunder claps : down came the rain 
like a waterspout, and they were driven to take shelter in 
thd cabin. The waters rose and dashed against the boats, 
several of which were swamped. Seeing this, the men 
in the remaining boats struggled hard to get to shore, 
but the violence of the wind drove them in the opposite 
direction. Thakchacha's chattering ceased : frightened out 
of his senses, and clasping his bead chaplet in his hands, 
he gabbled aloud his prayers, calling on his Prophet and 
Patron, — Saint Mahomed Ali, and Satya Pir.' 

Baburam Babu too was in great anxiety. It seemed to 
be the beginning of the punishment of his misdeeds : who 
can remain calm in mind when he is conscious of wrong ? 
Cunning and craft may suffice to conceal a crime from the 
eye of the world, but nothing can escape the conscience. 
The sinner is ever at the mercy of its sting:. he is 
always in a state of alarm and dread, never at ease : he 
may occasionally indulge in laughter, but it is unnatural 
and forced. Baburam Babu wept from sheer fright, and 
said to Thakchacha : " Oh, Thakchacha, what is going to 
happen? I seem to see an untimely death before me ! sure- 
ly this is Nemesis. Alas, alas ! to have just effected the 
release of my son, and yet to be unable to get him safe 
home and deliver him to his mother : my wife will die of 
grief if I perish. Ah, now I call to mind the words of my 
friend Beni Babu : all would have been well had I not 
turned aside out of the path of rectitude." Thakchacha 
too was in a high state of alarm, but the old sinner was 
a great boaster, and so he answered : " Why be so alarmed, 



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$8 • THE SPOILT CHILD. 

Babu ? Even if the boat is swamped, I will take yon to 
shore on my shoulders : it is misfortune that shows what 
a brave man really is." The storm increased in violence, 
and the boat was soon in a sinking condition : all were in 
* an extremity of terror, shouting for help, and Thakchacha's 
only thought was his own safety. 



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CHAPTER VIII. 
Baburam and Matilall return Home. 
Mr. Butler had just arrived at his office and was 
overhauling his hooks to see what business was doing 
daring the current month: his dog was asleep near him. 
Every now and again the Saheb would whistle, and take 
a pinch of snuff; then he would examine his account hook 
or stand up and stretch his legs. He thought anxiously 
of the large sums he would have to pay as fees in 
the different offices of the Court: though by no means 
possessed of large resources, he knew very well that 
business would be at> a standstill if he did not pay his 
money down before Term opened. He was thus engaged 
when the sircar of Mr. Howard, another attorney, entered 
his office, and put two papers into his hand. The Saheb's 
face beamed with delight, and he called out to Bancharam 
to come to him at once. Bancharam, throwing his 
shawl over a chair and sticking his pen behind his ear, 
attended at once to the summons. " Ha, Bancharam !" 
said Mr. Butler, " I am in luck indeed : there are two 
cases against Baburam Babu — an action in ejectment 
for non-payment of revenue, and a suit in equity. Mr. 
Howard has served me with a notice, and a subpoena to 
attend." On hearing this news Bancharam clapped his 
elbows against his sides with delight and said : " Aha, 
Saheb, see what a fine headman I am ! all sorts of good 
things will come to us by my introduction of Baburam. 
Give me the two papers quick and let me go in person 
to Vaidyabati. These are not matters to be entrusted to 



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60 ' THE SPOILT CHILD. 

: another : I shall have to employ a good deal of coaxing and 
wheedling, and all my arts of persuasion will have to be 
called into requisition. If I can only once climb to the 
top of the Tree of Fortune, I will simply shower rupees 
down : just now we are very short of cash, and we cannot 
afford that in a business like ours ; by a sudden dash like 
this we may safely reckon on getting something." 

Meanwhile in the Vaidyabati house, propitiatory sacri- 
fices were being offered : musical instruments of all kinds 
were braying and jangling. The crash of drums, the blare 
of brass trumpets, the clashing of cymbals, astonished the 
dawn. In the great hall of worship offerings for MatilalTs 
welfare were in progress. The Brahmans were variously 
occupied in reciting the hymn to Durga, working up Ganges 
clay into representations of Siva, or offering leaves of the 
sacred basil to the holy shalgram in the centre of the 
hall. Others, deep in thought, their heads resting on their 
hands, were saying to each other : "How about our divine 
Brahmanhood now ? so far from having saved Matilall, our 
master too must now have perished with him. If he was 
aboard yesterday, the boat must have been lost in the 
storm last night : there can be no doubt about that. Any- 
how the family are ruined : the young Babu will now be 
proclaimed master, and what kind of man he is likely to 
turn out no one can say : our prospects of gain appear now 
to be very remote." One of the Brahmans present said very 
quietly : "Why are you so anxious? nobody is depriving 
us of our gains. Apply to our own case the simile of the 
saw cutting the shell. The saw will cut chips off the shell 
whether it moves forward or whether it moves backwards: 
even if the master be no more, there will have to be a 
gorgeous shraddha. The master is not a young man, and 
if the old lady objects to spending much on his shraddha, 
everybody will abuse her." Another remarked 2 "Ah, my 

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TEE SPOILT CHILD. 61 

friend, that may be all very true, but in case of his death 
our gains will become very precarious : I prefer the supply 
to be as constant as the Vasudhara : let us be ever getting, 
ever eating, say I : one shower will not suffice a long- 
continued thirst." 

Baburam Babu's wife was a most devoted partner : ever 
since her lord's departure she had been very restless and 
had neglected her daily food. She had been sitting all 
night at one of the windows of the house from which 
the Ganges was visible. As the wind blew in strong gust3 
every now and again, she shuddered with fright : she 
kept gazing out into the storm, but her heart trembled 
as she looked : the continual rumbling of the thunder 
made her anxious, and she called upon the Almighty 
in her distress. Time went by : hardly a boat passed 
.up or down the Ganges : whenever she heard a sound 
she would get up and look : occasionally she saw a light 
glinmering faintly in the distanco and at once concluded 
it came from some vessel. At last a boat did come in 
sight, and sho waited for it to come and tie up at the ghdt; 
but when it passed on, only skirting the shore without 
coming to land, the agony of despair pierced her heart 
like a dart. 

The night had almost come to an end and the storm 
had gradually lulled. How beautiful is the calm of crea- 
tion that succeeds tumult and. confusion ! The stars again 
shone in the sky: the moon's light seemed to dance 
sportively on the waters of the river : so still had the 
earth become that even the rustle of the leaves could 
be heard. 

Baburam Babu's wife, as she anxiously gazed about her, 
exclaimed in her impatience : " Oh Lord of Creation ! to 
my knowledge I have done no wrong to any one : I 
have committed no sin that I am aware of. Must I now 



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62 TEE SPOILT CHILD. 

after so long a time endure all the pangs of widowhood ? 
Wealth I care nothing for : ornaments I have no use 
for : to be poor would be no hardship to me, I should not 
grieve : but this one boon I pray for, that I may be able 
to look upon the faces of my husband and my son when 
I die." Indeed her mental anguish was extreme, but 
being a cautious woman, as well as naturally reserved, 
she restrained herself lest her tears should distress her 
daughters. So the night passed away, and music in the 
house ushered in the dawn. The sound of melody, 
ordinarily so attractive, in the case of one afflicted in 
mind only serves to open the floodgates of grief ; and the 
sorrow of the mistress of the house was but intensified 
by the sweet sounds. 

Just then a fisherman came to the Vaidyabati house to 
sell fish : in answer to their enquiries, he said : " During 
the storm there was a boat in a more or less sinking con- 
dition on the sandbank known as the Bansberia Chur : 
I rather think it must have been swamped : there was a 
stout gentleman in it, a Mahomedan, a young gentleman, 
and others." This news was as if a thunderbolt had fallen 
amongst them : the music at once ceased, and all the 
members of the household lifted up their voices and wept. 

Later in the day, towards evening, Bancharam Babu 
arrived with his usual bustle at the reception-room of the 
Vaidyabati house, and enquired for the master : on hear- 
ing the news from one of the servants, he fell into deep 
thought, resting his head on his hand, and then exclaimed : 
" Alas, alas, a great man has departed ! " Having given 
way for some time to loud lamentation, he finally called for 
a pipe of tobacco, and thus reflected, as he puffed away : — 
" Ah ! Baburam Babu is now dead, would that I also 
were so! Where now are all those hopes with which 
I came? They have vanished, and here am I with the 



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ly^^Ij,.UJ J )M , I L H I .. I .-- " ' ■«■ ■! ! ■ IlilWII — 



. THE SPOILT CHILD. 63 

great Durga Festival coming off at home, the image not 
yet decorated, or even coloured, and without the where- 
withal to pay for it : I am quite at a loss to know what to 
do, A few rupees just now would have been exceedingly 
serviceable, no matter how they might have been got, 
I could have given some to my master, some I would 
have kept for myself : it would have been a very simple 
thing to cook the accounts by making a false entry or two. 
Who could have anticipated that the heavens would have 
burst asunder and fallen upon my head like this ? " Then, 
just for the look of the thing, he shed a few tears before 
the servants, weeping really for the loss of his dear rupees. 
The officiating Brahmans, seeing him there, came and sat 
down by him. The wearers of the sacred thread are, as a 
rule, a very astute sort of people : it is hard to get at their 
thoughts. Some began to recount the good qualities of 
Baburam Babu : others complained that they were now 
orphans, bereft of their father : others, unable to restrain 
their greed of gain, remarked: "There is no time now for 
mourning : we must bestir ourselves to ensure * Baburam 
Babu's happiness in the next world : he was a man of no 
ordinary importance." Without paying much attention to 
what they were saying, Bancharam Babu smoked away, 
and nodded his head : he knew the old proverb : " What 
advantage does the crow get, even if the bael is ripe ? " 
It seemed as if he had got to the end of all things, so 
thoroughly broken-hearted was he : he could only sigh as 
he listened to what was being said : he had no plans, nor, 
alas, could he think of anybody to fleece I The idea once 
occurred to him that he might make something by inform- 
ing the family that some fine portions of their property 
might be lost to them unless they held a very careful 
enquiry, but then he considered that his words would be 
only wasted if he spoke when their grief was so fresh. 



> 



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64 THE SPOILT CHILD. x 

While he was thus musing, a sudden stir arose at the 
door, where a messenger had just arrived with a letter : 
the address was in the handwriting of Baburam Babu, but 
the messenger could give no particulars. The mistress 
of the house snatched at the letter, carried it into the 
house, opened it hurriedly, and devoured its contents. The 
letter was as follows : — 

** Last night I was in terrible danger : the boat I was 
in was carried away in the darkness, at the mercy of the 
storm, and the boatmen lost all control over it : finally, 
it capsized with the violence of the waves. I was in 
extreme terror as it was sinking, but at the next moment 
I remembered you : I imagined you standing near me and 
saying : * Be not afraid in the time of adversity : call on 
the Almighty with body, mind, and soul : He is merciful, 
and will rescue you out "of your danger.' I acted accord- 
ingly, and when I fell into the water I found myself upon 
a sandbank, where the water was only knee deep. The 
boat was soon dashed to pieces by the violence of the 
storm. I remained on the sandbank the entire night 
and reached Bansberia next morning. Matilall fell ill 
from exposure, but he has been under medical treatment 
and is now again convalescent. I expect to reach home 
by nightfall." 

The moment that she had read the letter, the heat of 
her grief was extinguished: she pondered long, and then 
exclaimed : " Can such a joyful destiny indeed befall so 
sorrowful a wretch as myself ? " Even while she spoke, 
Baburam Babu arrived with his son and Thakchacha. 
Everywhere there was a great stir. The minds of all the 
members of the household had been shrouded in a mist 
of grief, and now the sun of joy had risen. As she 
gazed upon her husband and her son, holding her two 
daughters by the hand, the mistress of the house wept 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 63 

tears of joy. Sh© had been intending to upbraid Matilall 
for his conduct, but now all was forgotten : the two girls, 
holding their brother's hands, fell at their father's feet 
and wept. TVhen the infant boy saw his father, it was 
as though he had found a treasure : he kept his arms 
tight round his neck, and for long refused to slacken 
his embrace i the women of the household too offered 
loud prayers for the welfare of their master, as though 
with jxin and betel in hand, they were praying for the 
welfare of a bridegroom. Baburam Babu was for some 
time like a man in a trance, unable to utter a word* 
Matilall reflected to himself: "The sinking of the boat 
has been a piece of good luck for me : it has saved me 
from a good scolding from my mother." As soon as the 
Brahmans in the outer apartments of the house saw 
Baburam Babu, they greeted him with vociferous bless- 
ings, saying in the Sanskrit tongue :— " Supreme over all 
is the might of the gods," and adding : " How could 
any calamity befall you, sir, with your own merits on 
the one hand, and on the other the divine rites that have 
been performed on your behalf? If such can befall, then 
are we no Brahmans." 

Thakchacha rose up in great wrath when he heard this 
language, and said : " Sir, if it is by the influence of 
these men that calamity has been averted from you, is- 
all my troublo on your behalf to go for nothing ? do 
my prayers count for nothing ?" The Brahmans at once 
humbly acquiesced saying : " Ah sir, just as the divine 
Krishna was once Arjuna's charioteer, so you have been 
the master's ! all has happened by the might of your in- 
telligence : you are a special incarnation : calamity flies 
far away from anyplace where you are, as from any place 
where we are." . » 

Banchanun Babu had been all this time like a serpent 
o, sc 5 



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66 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

.with its crest-jewel lost, depressed and sad. He shed 
a few sham tears, to show off before Baburam Baba 
(his eyes were always rather watery), and his breast heaved 
with emotion. Fish would fall to his bait, he was firmly 
persuaded, if now he only threw in sufficient. When he 
heard the Brahmans' talk, he came up to them and with 
his favourite gesture, said : " I am no fool I can tell you : 
calamity could not possibly befall the master with me. 
Am I merely a Calcutta grasscutter that I could not 
% have helped him ? " 



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CHAPTER IX. 
Matilall and his Friends. 

When a child is once corrupted, it is hard to effect 
any improvement. Every means should be tried to in- 
stil good principles into the mind from childhood : the 
character may then ripen for good and the mind be* 
come more strongly bent towards the right than towards 
evil; bat if a boy gets hold of bad companions or 
receives ill advice in his early boyhood, then, such is the 
unsteadiness natural to his age, all will probably go wrong 
with him thereafter. So long then as he remains still 
a boy, with the mind of a boy, he must be assiduously 
employed in a variety of good pursuits. If boys were to 
receive an education like this up to the age of twenty- 
five, there would be no probability of their following evil 
courses : their minds would by that time have become 
so elevated that the mere mention of evil would excite 
anger and loathing. But it is very difficult for children 
in this country to receive such a training, owing, in the 
first place, to the lack of good teachers, and in the second 
to the lack of good books. There is urgent need of 
works that will promote the growth of high principles and 
of sound judgment, but ordinary people are persuaded 
that a solid education consists in teaching the meaning 
of a number of sounds : then again, very few people seem 
to have any idea of the methods whereby good principles 
are implanted in the mind ; and finally the nature of the 
home surroundings of children in this country is strong- 
ly against the implanting of such principles. One 



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68 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

boy may have a drunkard or a gambler as nfe father, 
another may have as his uncles men of immoral life ; the 
mother herself too, being unable to read or write, may 
not exert herself for her children's education. A great 
deal of evil moreover is learnt from association with the 
different members of the household, the men and women 
servants ; it may be also that from consorting with all 
kinds of boys in the village or at the village-school, 
children get to learn their evil ways and vicious habits, and 
so are ruined for life. Even where but one of the causes 
mentioned exists, the obstacle in the way of good edu- 
cation is grievous enough, but where they all exist in 
combination, there the drawbacks are simply terrible. It 
is like setting fire to straw •- let a man only pour ghee 
where the fire is beginning to blaze, and within a very 
short space the flame is everywhere, and reduces to ashes 
whatever it finds in its way. 

Many people thought that Matilall would have reform- 
ed after the affair of the police court; but thdboy who 
is devoid of good qualities and high principles, and with- 
out any regard for honour or dishonour, has no particular 
feeling of abhorrence for punishments. Evil thoughts and 
good thoughts alike have their origin in the mind, and 
are therefore intimately bound up with the character : a 
mere physical affliction or trouble then cannot be expected 
to change the wind's direction. Doubtless, when the ser- 
geant of police was dragging Matilall along through 
the streets, he may have thought it at the actual time a 
trouble and a disgrace, but the feeling was only moment- 
ary : once in the guard-room, he seemed to have lost 
ail anxiety or fear or sense of dishonour and he was 
such a nuisance all that night and the whole of the next 
day to his neighbours, as he sang and imitated the cries 
of dogs and jackals, that they put their hands to their 



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THE SPOILT CUILD. 69 

*ars, and exclaiming " Ram, Ram '" said to each other: 
"Wliy, we are far worse off with this boy in our neighbour- 
hood than if he were in prison." When he stood before 
the magistrate next day, he kept his head bent down like 
Shishu Pal, of JIahabharata renown, but it was done to 
deceive his father. In reality he recked little whether 
he went to jail and was put in fetters, or what happened 
to him. 

Boys absolutely devoid of respect, of fear, and of shame, 
and addicted to purely evil courses, are afflicted with 
no ordinary disease: their complaint is really mental, 
and if only the proper remedies are applied, a cure may 
in process of time be effected* But Baburam Babu had 
no ideas on the subject at all: he was firmly convinced 
that Matilali was a very good boy, and used at first to 
wax very wrath if he heard him abused* Though all 
sorts of people were continually telling him about his son, 
he was as one who heard not ; and if afterwards from his 
own observations a doubt did arise in his mind, he kept 
his misgivings to himself, and for fear of being mortified 
before others, refrained from expressing them, but simply 
gave secret orders to the door-keeper not to let Matilali 
leave the house This was no remedy : the disease had 
obtained too strong a hold upon the boy, and no possible 
good could result from simply keeping him a prisoner and 
constantly in his sight You may put a bar of iron on a 
mind once corrupted, without making any impression : on 
the contrary, mere repression may only have the effect of 
intensifying the evil in the mind. At first Matilali used 
io get out of the house* by jumping over the walk On the 
release of his old companions of Bow Bazar from jail, they 
came to live at Vaidyabati, and some of the boys of the 
place having joined them, they formed themselves into a 
band. Matilall's sense of respect and fear was soon destroy- 



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70 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

ed altogether by his association with these young scamp?, 
and he ended by paying no attention at all to his father. 

Boys who have not been accustomed from their childhood 
to innocent and harmless amusements, are apt to take 
to diversions of a low kind. The children of English- 
men are instructed by their parents in a variety of inno- 
cent pastimes, in order that they may have sound minds 
and sound bodies : some draw and paint : some cultivate a 
taste for botany : some learn music : some devote them- 
selves to sport and gymnastics : each takes up the form 
of harmless enjoyment most congenial to him. Boys in 
this country follow the example that is set them : their 
one wish is to be dressed in gorgeous attire, with a pro- 
fusion of gold embroidery and jewels : to make up picnic 
parties of their chums and gay companions, and to live 
luxuriously in all a Babu's style. Fondness for display 
and extravagance naturally characterizes the season of 
youth : if care is not very early exercised in this matter, 
the desire grows in intensity, and a variety of evils result, 
by which eventually body and mind alike may be irre- 
trievably ruined. -_ 

Matilall gradually threw off all restraint : he became 
so depraved that* continuing to throw dust in his father's 
eyes, he now openly spoke of him in the most unfilial 
find atrocious manner. The constant burden of his talks 
with his companions was : " Ah, if my old father would 
- but die, I could then enjoy myself to my heart's con- 
tent ! " Any money he demanded from his parents they 
gave him : if there was any hesitation on their part, 
he would at once say : " Very well, then, I will go hang 
myself, or else take poison." His parents in their alarm 
thought : " Ah, what must be, must ! Our life is bound 
up with the boy's life, he is our Shivmtri lamp : let him, 
live and we shall have our libations when we are gone*'* 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 7i 

Matilall spent his whole time in riotous living : lie hardly 
spent a minute of his day at home : at one time he 
would be engaged at a picnic, taking part in a theatri- 
cal entertainment, or making one of a party of amateur 
musicians : at another, he would be running about get- 
ing up a procession in honour of some local deity, or 
else absorbed in contemplating a nautch : or again, he 
would be creating a disturbance, and making unprovoked 
assaults upon other people. His appetite for stimulants, 
whether it were ganja, opium or even wine, never failed 
him, and tobacco of course was in constant demand. 

They carried foppery to an extreme, these young Babus, 
wearing their hair in curls and using powder for their 
teeth. Their dress was of fine Dacca muslin embroidered 
with gold lace : on their heads they wore embroidered 
caps ; carried in their hands silk handkerchiefs per- 
fumed with attar of roses, and light canes ; and smart 
English dress shoes with silver buckles adorned their 
feet As, moreover, they had no spare time for their 
regular meals, they carried about with them all sorts of 
dainty sweetmeats. 

Unless an evil disposition is checked at the very 
outset, it grows worse every day, and in time becomes quite 
brute-like in its nature : just as when a man has once 
become enslaved to opium, the quantity he takes tends 
constantly to increase, so when a man has become ad- 
dicted to evil habits, the craving for still more grievous 
courses comes naturally of itself. Matilall and his com- 
panions soon began to think the amusements they had 
hitherto been indulging in too tame : they no longer gave 
them any special pleasure ; so they set to work to devise 
means for more solid pleasures. They now started sallying 
forth in a band late in the evenings, setting fire to and 
plundering houses, setting the thatch of poor people's huts 



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72 tHE SPOILT CHILD. 

alight, visiting the houses of loose women and creating a 
disturbance, pulling their hair about, burning their mos- 
quito curtains, and plundering their dresses and ornaments. 
Sometimes, they would even insult a respectable girl. The 
people of the place were terribly annoyed at all this, but the 
young men only snapped their fingers at them in derision, 
and consigned them all to perdition. 

Baburam Babu had been for some time in Calcutta on 
business. One day towards evening, a zenana palki was 
passing the Vaidyabati house. As soon as the young 
scoundrels saw it, they at once ran out, surrounded it, and 
commenced beating the /xi/fo-bearers, who thereupon set ^ 
ihe palki down and ran for their lives. Opening the palki, 
• they saw a beautiful young girl inside. Matilall ran for- 
ward, seized the girl's hand, and dragged her out of the 
palki trembling all over with confusion and fear. In vain 
she looked around her for help : she saw only pitiless dark 
space. Then weeping bitterly she called on the Almighty : 
"Oh Lord, protect the helpless young orphan ! I am 
content to die, only grant that I may not lose my 
honour." As the young Babus were all struggling 
together to get possession of her, she fell to the ground ; 
they then tried to drag her by main force into the house. 
Matilall's mother hastened outside in some trepidation 
when she heard the sound of the girl's weeping, and the 
miscreants thereupon took to their heels. Seeing the mis- 
tress of the house, the young girl fell at her feet and said 
in her distress : " Oh dear lady, protect my honour ! You 
must be a devoted wife yourself.*' None but a faithful 
fcnd virtuous wife can understand the danger of a virtu- 
ous woman. Baburam Babu's wife at once lifted the girl 
off the ground and wiped away her tears with the border 
of her sari, saying as she did so : " My dear child, do 
not weep, you have no further cause for fear ; I will 

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THE SPOILT CHILD. 73 

cherish you as my own dear child : the Lord Almighty 
always protects the honour of the woman who is faithful 
to her vows.** With these words she dispelled the girl's 
fears, 'and when she had soothed and consoled her, accom- 
panied her to her home, and left her there. 



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/ 



CHAPTER X. 
The Marriage Contract. 
The waving of lamps and the loud clanging of bells 
showed the worship of the goddess Nistarini to be in 
full swing in Sheoraphuli. Becharam Babu looked into 
the shrine of the goddess as he went by on foot : lining 
both sides of the road were shops : in some of them heap3 
of potatoes, grown at Bandipore and Gopalpore, were 
exposed for sale : in others, the shopkeepers were hard 
at work selling parched rice and sweetmeats, grain and 
ddl. Here in one part were oil-merchants sitting near 
their mills, (which were simply the hollowed out trunks 
of trees,) and reading the Ramayan in the vulgar tongue : 
now and then they would urge on their cattle, as they 
went circling round, with a click of the tongue, and when 
the circle was completed, would shriek out the passage : 
"Oh Bam! we are monkeys, Bam, we are monkeys !" 
Women were busily engaged in cutting up fish for sale 
by the light of their lamps, and calling out : " Buy our 
fish, buy our fish ! " while cloth merchants, reciting some 
passage from the MaEabharaty were murdering its un- 
happy author. AH this, as he passed through the Bazaar, 
Becharam Babu was closely observing. When a man 
is taking a solitary walk, anything that has recently 
occupied his attention keeps recurring to his mind. Now, 
Becharam Babu was very fond in those days of proces- 
sional singing; and as he went along an unfrequented 
path, after leaving his dwelling, one of his favourite 
songs came into his mind. The night was dark and 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 75 

there wa3 hardly a soul about : only a few bollock-carts, 
their wheels creaking as they lumbered along, were on 
their way home : dogs were barking here and there. So 
Becharam Babu began to put all his lung-power into 
the son<* he was chanting in the monotone peculiar 
to processional music. The village women hearing his 
nasal twang, screamed aloud in their terror, for it 
is tho rooted conviction of the country folk that only 
^ghosts adopt this peculiar vocal style. Hearing the 
commotion Becharam was somewhat disconcerted, so he 
took to his heels and soon reached the Yaidyabati house. 

Baburam Babu had a big gathering. Beni Babu of 
Bally, Bakreswar Babu of Batalata, Bancharam Babu of 
Outer Simla and many others were present. Thakchacha 
sat on a chair near the master. Several pandits were 
there discussing the Shastras ; some had taken up pas-' 
sages of the treatises concerning logic and metaphysics 
for discussion : others were hotly discussing the dates' 
that would be auspicious or otherwise for the annual festi- 
vals : others were giving their interpretation of the slokas 
out of a particular portion of the Bhagavad Gita : others 
were holding a great argument on grammatical niceties. 
One of the pandits, a man with an Assamese designation 
and a resident of Kamikhya, who was sitting near the 
master, said to him as he pulled away at his pipe : " You are 
a very fortunate man, sir, to possess two sons and two' 
daughters. This year is a somewhat unpropitious one, but 
if you offer up a sacrifice, the stars may all be favourable 
again, and you can use their influence on your behalf." In 
the midst of the discussion Becharam Babu arrived, and 
the whole company rose to their feet as he entered, and 
welcomed him most cordially. The visitor had been more 
or less in a bad temper since the affair of the police court, 
but a courteous and kind address has a great effect in 



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76 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

turning a man's wrath away ; and Becharam Babn, mollified 
by the courteous welcome so unanimously accorded him, 
sat down with a smile close to Beni Babu. Babuiyim Babu 
thereupon said to him : " Sir, the seat you have taken is 
not a good one: come and sit with me on my couch." Men ' 
after each other's hearts are as inseparable as cranes, and 
notwithstanding the pressing invitation of Baburam Babu, 
Becharam Babu would not give up his seat near Beni 
Babu. ; ] ■ 

After some time spent in conversation on different 
topics, Becharam Babu asked: "What about MatilaU's 
marriage contract? Where has it been arranged ?" 

Baburam. — A good many proposals for a contract of 
marriage have come in: Haridas Babu of Guptipara, Shyma 
Charan Babu of Nakashipur, Ram Hari Babu of Kanchra- 
para, and many others belonging to differents districts have 
dent in proposals. These have all been passed over, and a 
N marriage ha$ been arranged with the daughter of Madhav 
Babu of Manirampur. He is a man possessed of consider- 
able property ; we shall, moreover, make a good deal out 
of the connection. - — 

Becharam. — Beni, my friend, what do you think about 
this ? Come, tell me plainly and openly your opinion. 
' Beni. — Becharam, my dear friend, it is no easy matter 
to tell you plainly : you know the proverb : u A dumb man 
makes no enemies." Besides what is the use of discussing, 
a thing that has been settled ? 

' BecJtaram. — Oh, but you must tell me: I like to know 
the ins and outs of every marriage. : 

Beni. — Listen then : Madhav Babu of Manirampur is 
a very quarrelsome sort of person, — has not even the man- 
ners of a gentleman. He has a reputation amongst Brah- 
mans for orthodoxy, only gained by making presents 
to them, but he is an utterly unscrupulous man. True, 

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THE SPOILT CHILD. 77 

be may be able to make handsome presents of money and 
other things on the occasion of his daughter's marriage ; 
but is money the only thing worth taking into considera- 
tion when a marriage is in question ? Surely the first 
requisite is a respectable family, and the nest a good girl ; 
and then if there is wealth as well, so much the better, but 
it does not very much matter. Now Ram Hari Babu of 
Kanchrapara is a very excellent person : he lives cheerfully 
and contentedly on the income he derives from his own 
exertions, and never casts a longing eye on another man's 
wealth. He may not be in very good circumstances, I 
allow, but he has always been very careful to have his 
children well educated, and the one object of his thoughts 
has been the happiness and moral well-being of his family. 
To be connected with such a man as this would be a source 
of entire happiness. 

Becharam. — Baburam Babu, who is the intelligent per- 
son who has recommended this match to you ? Avarice 
will be your ruin yet. But what right have I to speak? It 
is after all our social system that is at fault : whenever the 
topic of marriage comes to the front, people always say : 
" How sir ! will you give me a pot of silver ? will you 
give me a necklace of pearls ?" It is only an idiot who 
would think of saying; "Look first to see whether your 
proposed relation be respectable or not : enquire whether 
the girl be a good girl or otherwise." This is a mere trifle : 
if only wealth is to be got, that is everything. 

Bancharam. — We want family, we want beauty, and we 
want wealth as well : how can a family possibly get on if it 
. professes to despise wealth ? 

Bakreswar. — True enough : we must keep up a proper 
respect for wealth. What do we get by intercourse with 
a poor man ? Are our stomachs filled by it ? 
. Thakchacha [bending down from his chair]. — All this talk 



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78 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

is a reflection upon me : it was I that counselled this match. 
I would have been ashamed to show my face in the world 
if I had not succeeded in getting a girl of noble parentage. 
I took immense pains to ascertain that Madhav Babu of 
Manirampur was a good man. Why, he is a man at whose 
. name the tiger and cow might drink at the same pool to- 
gether ! besides, look at the advantage of being able to 
get his lathials whenever we need them in cases of dis- 
pute. Then too everybody connected with the Law-Courts 
is under his thumb : there are a thousand ways in which 
he can be of assistance to us in any strait. Ram Hari 
Babu of Kanchrapara on the other hand, is a feeble sort of 
person : he makes a very precarious living : what would 
have been the good of an arrangement with him ? 

Becharam. — A fine counsellor you have got Baburam ! 
If you listen to all such a counsellor has to advise, you 
are bound to get to heaven, body and all. And what a 
son, too, you have ! And so he is actually about to be 
married ? What do you think about it all, Beni Babu ! 

Beni. — I think that the man who will first thoroughly 
educate his son, and who will take special pains that he 
shall grow up thoroughly moral, will be best able to be 
of assistance to his son when the time comes that he should 
marry. Many evils'are likely to arise if a boy is married 
at an unreasonable age. 

On hearing *all this, Baburam Babu rose in much 
• irritation and hurriedly retreated into the inner apart- 
ments of the house, where his wife was engaged in dis- 
cussing the match with some of the women of the village. 
Going up to her, he informed her of all that had . 
been said outside, and as he stood there in some 
perplexity, inquired: "Cannot we put off MatilalTs marriage 
for a few days ? " His wife replied : " What is this that 
you are saying? Plague take our enemies! By divine 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 79 

favour Matilall is now sixteen : would it look well not to 
marry him now ? If you upset the arrangements now, the 
proper season for marriage will slip away. You surely do 
not know what you are doing : is the caste of a good man 
to be destroyed in this way ? Go at once, and take the 
bridegroom off with you." 

At this advice from his wife, all the master's indecision 
disappeared. He at once went outside and gave the order 
for the lamps to be lit : the musical instruments all struck 
up at the same time, and the English bands began to play. 
Baburam lifted the bridegroom into Ms palanquin, and 
taking Thakchacha by the hand, walked by the side, with 
heavy gait,' accompanied by his kinsmen and near friends. 
From the roof of the house the boy's mother gazed down 
upon her son's face, and the women of the household 
called out, "Ah, mother of Mati! Ah, how beautiful is 
your child ! " The friends of the bridegroom were all with 
him : they amused themselves by taking torches to the 
rear of the crowd and setting people alight, and by let- 
ting off squibs and fireworks near the houses and in the 
thick of the crowd. None of the poor people ventured to 
remonstrate, though they were sadly annoyed. 

The bridegroom soon reached Manirampur, and got down 
from the palanquin. Both sides of the road were crowded 
with people gazing at the bridegroom. The women chatter- 
ed away to each other about him. "The boy has a certain 
amount of beauty," said one, "but if his nose were a bit' 
straighter,he would look better." Another remarked, " His 
complexion, fair as it is, would look better even fairer." 

The marriage was to take place at a late hour, but it 
had not struck ten when Madhav Babu, taking a durwan 
with a lantern, came out to meet the bridegroom and his 
guests. After he had joined the marriage procession in the 
street, nearly half an hour wa3 wasted in the exchange of 



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80 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

compliments, each man wishing to give precedence to the 
other. While one said: " Pray sir ! precede me !" the other 
politely declined : "Nay sir ! do you please go first." At 
last, Beni Babu of Bally went forward and said : " Please 
one of you gentlemen go on ahead. I cannot stand here 
in the street and catch cold." An amicable arrangement 
bein<* at last come to, the whole company arrived at the 
house of the bride's father and entered. 

The bridegroom took his seat in the assembly. Numbers 
of roughs were standing about, ripe for mischief. The 
distribution of money to the village, and other subjects, then 
came up for discussion. Thakchacha was doing his best, 
but apparently without avail, to effect some arrangement 
for his oxvn profit. A rough blustering sort of fellow came 
up to him and said : " Who is this low Mahomedan ? Get 
out of this ! what has a Mahomedan to do \vith Hindu 
concerns?" Thakchacha was furious, and shaking his 
head fiercely, his eyes inflamed with passion, abused the 
man roundly. 

This was the very opportunity MatilalPs young friends, 
Haladhar, Gadadhar, and the other young Babus, had been 
longing for. They saw from the clouds that were gathering 
that a storm was imminent. One set to work to tear the car- 
pet into pieces, another to extinguish the lamps : some set 
the chandeliers clashing and jingling, while others threw 
missiles among the assembled company. Some of the 
people of the bride's father, seeing the confusion they 
were creating, began to abuse them and strike them with 
their fists, and Matilall seeing the quarrel in progress; 
thought to himself: "I fancy I am not destined to get 
married. I may have to return home after all, with the 
thread only on my wrist." 



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CHAPTER XI. 
Thb Poetaster. 
The pandits of Agurpara were enjoying their tisnal even- 
ing lounge beneath their favourito tree : they were all 
either taking snuff or smoking, coughing and sneezing, 
chaffing each other and joking. One of them asked : 
u How is Yidyaratna? The good Brahman, in his zeal for 
gain, has lamed himself going to Manirampur in re* 
sponse to an invitation. I was concerned to see him leaping 
on a stick yesterday as he went to bathe." Vidyabhushan 
replied : " Oh ! Vidyaratna is all right again : the pain in 
his foot has been considerably alleviated, what with warm 
lime and turmeric, and dry fomentations. Come, gentlemen, 
listen to the poetry which our friend the great poet Konkan 
has composed with special reference to the Manirampur 
entertainment." 

Let the dram beat in triumph, uplift the glad song, 

For the guests are assembled, a glittering throng ; 

In the gaj halls of Madhub, as radiantly bright, . 

As the heaven of Indra, entrancing the sight. 

How dazzling the glow that illuminates all, 

Bow brilliant the flowers that engarland the wall I 

8ee, apart sit the friends of the bridegroom and bride, 

Retainers in scarlet on every side. 

What ravishing melody floats on the air 

With perfume of blossoms surpassingly rare I 

Be sure, so celestial a scene to array 

In Hymen's sweet honour, took many a day. 

But the ground is just soaking here under the tent 

Where the rain is descending through many a rent. 

And these up-country durwan*, offensively loud, 

What business have they to be hustling the crowd ? 

o, so 6 



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82 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

Discordant the noises that deafen the ear, 
And the shouts and the hubbub are awfnl to hear. 
Yet in view of the sweets and the dainties in store, 
Xou'd pnt np with annoyances double or more. 
' - See those figures in paste on the walls stuck about ! 

How the pedigree-poets their rhapsodies shout ! 
Now list to these' verses, and publish the fame 
Of Konkan, ,— the paragon verse-maker's name ! 
. 'The bridegroom is coming I A silence profound < , 

Is felt for a moment, and plaudits resound. 
But the juvenile Babus are eager for fun, 
And lo I in a minute the row has begun. 
His schemes are miscarrying, Thakchacha fears, 
As he listens aghast to the shouts and the jeers. 
We too are are astounded ; — this banging and crashing ! 
This rending of carpets and clanging and clashing ! 
'Why, the glass chandeliers they are wantonly smashing ! 
We'd better be off. we are in for a thrashing I 
In wonder sits Mati, revolving the thought, 
'* It seems my investiture's profiting nought t " 
"The scoundrel Bakresh war!" uprises a shout, 
M Give him a caning and hustle him out I" 
And Bancharam also, the schemer profound, 
Is wriggling in torture and howls on the ground. 
Says Bjbharam hastily, •• Here, come aside ; v 

Thinfl do not look promising : where shall we hide ? " 
^ndVCjjirries off Beni, bereft of resource. 
While ever the tumult increases in force. 
•• Help. he*p ! " holloas Baburam, much in alarm, 
For support round a pillar entwining his arm. 
Ho, speed to the rescue Thakchacha the brave ! 
But to keep a whole skin's the oue thought of the knave ! 
Whom, with head muffled up as he gingerly goes, 
They arrest as chief culprit, and hurl on his nose, 
And roll in the dust till his eyes are of sand full, 
Aiid tear out the hair of his head by the handful. 
Bear " Tauba ! " and " Tauta ! " the Mussulman yell t 
" Of my sins I repent, on the border of hell ! 
" Bnt I'd nothing whatever to do with it, no ! 
** Al innocent Moslem, — why badger him so ? 
" BUmillah ! alack ! To appear on the scene 
" Such an outrage to suffer, was folly I ween I - 



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" ' 



THE SPOILT CHILD. S3 

- Among the mild Hindus I guilelessly came 

* From the parent of mot ires ; nod this is their fame I 
M Ah fool I the advice of thj friends to despise, 

44 At the cost of th j beauty, thy beard, and thine eyes I " 
Now enter the dnnean* athirst for the fray, 
* And round them their UthU impartial I y Isj ; 
Then howls of excitement and terror and pain, 
The crack of the truncheon and swish of the cane I 
The friends of the bridegroom and those of the bride 
Are scuttling in terror on every side : 
Within flies the bridegroom, the company's scattered, 
And all the gay trappings of Hymen are shattered. 
44 Thakchacha still here ! " some enthusiast shouts, 
■* Pour mud on his turban and tear off his clouts ! ** 
In dishonour poor Baburam slinks from the hall 
And all his brave show goes for nothing at all. 
His costume's in tatters within and without, 
And shawllees and shoelets he stumbles about, 
Distractedly moaning :— " How hard is my case 
44 Whom death from exposure now stares in the face V 
" The oncoming tempest I hear from afar : 
•' Tie the progress triumphal of Death on his car ! 

* Thus helpless and sole, not a creature to aid, 
" Can his dire visitation be longer delayed ? 

" I am bruised and exhausted, and breath I have none : 

••• The Fates are against me I O what have I done ? 

M And my pitiful lot, if it reaches the ear 

44 Of the wife of my bosom, will kill her, I fear. 

44 Did the marriage come off * Fm unable to tell ! 

44 From a blow on the cranium unconscious I fell. 

44 These schemes matrimonial dictated by vanity 

•• Have landed me here on the verge of insanity ! M 

Thus loudly bewailing, a cottage he spies. 

Where no cruel warder an access denies. 

And there in a corner, alone, on a mat, 

Monumental in misery,— Thakchacha sat 1 

44 Ah traitor and craven, 'twas cruelly done, 

* Thy comrade deserting, thou treacherous one ! 
« 4 O frailty of mortals ! how f aileth the best, 

44 When the touchstone of peril puts love to the test ! " 
• 4 Hush, check your emotion ! " his champion replies, 
• 4 For where are we safe from our enemies spies? 



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84 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

u Tonll own, when youVe heard me,— my confident trust is — 
' * You've done your protector a grievous injustice ! w ' 
Tis daybreak, as homeward they ruefully wend, 
And Eonkan his epic thus brings to an end. 

On hearing this lampoon upon Babnram Babu, Tarka- 
" vagish was furious, and exclaimed : " Ha, ha ! this is 
poetry indeed ! Sarasvati in the flesh ! Kalidas come to 
life again ! What profound learning too has the great poet 
Konkan displayed ! So precocious a boy cannot possibly 
live long. The metre too, — astounding, — never heard any- 
thing like it, — it runs like a nursery rhyme! Now a man who 

* is a Brahman and a pandit to boot will always speak good of 
a rich man : there is nothing gentlemanly in mere abuse." 
"With these words, he got up in a rage, and would have 
left the place, but the assembled pandits expressed their 
full approval of his words, and urging him to stop and 
be calm, got him at last by sheer force to sit down 

. again. 'Another pandit then skilfully introduced other 

• topics, and ignoring what had passed began to sing the 
. praises of Baburam Babu and Madhab Babu. A Brahman, 

being generally father dense, cannot easily see when a 
joke is intended : through constant study of the Shastras, 
his mind moves solely in the region of the Shastras.and has 
no practice in worldly matters. Tarkavagish however was 
soon mollified and amused himself with the subject in hand. 



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CHAPTER XII. 
. Barada Babu. 

Becharam Babu of Bow Bazar was sitting in his recep- 
tion-hall, and with him were a few persons singing snatches 
of songs. The Babu was himself selecting the different 
subjects, and his selection was a sufficiently varied one : 
the verses were being sung to the most popular tunes. Many 
people in the exuberance of their enthusiasm would have roll- 
ed about on the floor on hearing such ravishing strains, but 
Becharam Babu sat there as stolid as a painted marionette. 
Beni Babu of Bally arrived while the music was still in pro- 
gress, and Becharam Babu at once stopped it, and said to 
his guest : " Ah I Beni, my friend I what, are you still 
alive ? Baburam is still nursing his wrath ; it is like fire 
smouldering amid burnt rags. He absolutely refuses to bid 
pacified. Some unpleasantness was bound to arise out of 
the affair of Manirampur : it has been an experience for 
ns. It is commonly reported that the family has a bitter 
tonemy, and that he went as one of the bridegroom's party." 
. Beni.— Speak to me no more on the subject of Babu* 
ram Babu : the whole affair has annoyed me extremely. 
I should like to get away altogether and give xip my 
house at Bally : the old Sanscrit saying occurs to me, 
** What else may not destiny have in store for me V 9 
. Becharam. — Well, such is the way things are going 
Mrith Baburam : what else can you expect from such a 
man, with such a counsellor, such companions, and such 
a son? Yet his younger son is a good boy: how is 
that? He is the lotus flower on the dung-heap. . .j 






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86 THE SPOILT CHILD, 

Bern. — You may well ask that : it is indeed extraordi- 
nary, but there is a reasoq for it. You may perhaps 
remember my having told you some time back about 
Babu Barada Prosad Biswas. Well, for some time past 
that gentleman has been living at Vaidyabati. I had 
been thinking a good deal on the subject, and I saw that 
if Baburam Babu's youngest son, Ramlall, grew up like 
Matilall, the family would very soon become extinct, but 
that here was an excellent opportunity for the boy to 
learn to grow up a good man. I considered the matter 
well, and went to the gentleman I have mentioned, tak- 
ing Ramlall with me. The boy has ever since then ex- 
hibited such an extraordinary affection for Biswas Babu 
that he is constantly at his side : he is very rarely at 
tome, for he regards Biswas Babu as a father. 
. ;. Becharam. You did, it is true, once relate to me all 
the virtues of this Biswas Babu, but, to tell you the 
truth, I have never heard of a single individual possessed 
pf so many virtues before : how is it, that now he has 
attained to so good a position, he is so modest, and un- 
pretending? 

• Beni>— It is generally very difficult for a man to be 
humble and unassuming who has been accustomed to 
wealth from his boyhood, and who has never encountered 
adversity, but gone on steadily piling up riches. A man 
like this has, as a rule, no perception of the feelings of 
. others 2 I mean by that, he has no idea what is pleasing or 
jvhat is distasteful to others, for his thoughts are centred 
in himself : he considers himself a great man, and his people 
all encourage him in the idea by extolling his magni- 
ficence. Under these conditions pride reaches a fearful 
height : modesty and kindliness can never take firm root in 
such soil. It is on this account that in Calcutta the sons 
of rich men so rarely turn out welL Puffed up by their 



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TBB SPOILT CHILI). «7 

father's wealth on the one hand or their own position on 
the other, they swagger through life, treating all men 
with contempt and derision. It is calamity and misfortune 
that alone avail to strengthen man's mind. The first 
requisite of man is humility : that quality absent, a man 
has no chance of either discerning aright or correcting 
his faults, and without humility he cannot advance in 
virtue and in worth, 

Becharam. — How was it that Barada Babn became so 
good? 

Deni. — Barada Babu fell into trouble in his earliest boy- 
hood, and from that time he used to meditate unceasing- 
ly on the Almighty : the result of this constant medita- 
tion was that he became firmly convinced that it was his 
twunden duty to do everything that was pleasing to 
"God, and to avoid what was displeasing to Him even 
though life were at stake : this conviction he proceeded 
to carry into practice. y 

Beckaram. — How did he settle with himself what was 
pleasing and what displeasing to the Almighty ? 

Bern. — There are two ways of attaining to knowledge , 
on this subject. First, the mind must be brought under 
control : to effect this, constant meditation and the steady 
growth of good principles are necessary. A searching 
•self -examination, a course of severe and steady meditation, 
may develop the faculty of discrimination between right 
tad wrong ; and in proportion as that faculty is developed, 
a man will become averse to conduct that is displeasing 
to the Almighty, and attached to a- course that is pleasing 
to Him. In the second place that faculty may be steadily 
exercised by reading and reflecting on what good men have 
^written. Barada Babu has left nothing undone that can 
help to make hint good. He has never wandered aimlessly 
about like ordinary people. When he rises in the morning, 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 

he always offers up his prayers to God, and the tears in 
his eyes show the feelings that rise up in his mind at the 
time. He then calmly examines his conduct most search- 
ingly, to see whether it has been good or bad. He never 
prides himself upon his good qualities, but is exceed- 
ingly distressed if he detects the very slightest fault in 
himself. He takes great delight in hearing of the good 
qualities of others, but he only expresses his sorrow after 
^ brotherly manner when he hears of their faults. By 
such assiduous practice it is that his mind has become 
pure and serene. Is there anything astonishing in the 
fact that a man should thus grow in virtue who so sub- 
dues his mind ? 

Becharam. — Ah, Beni my friend, it is most refreshing 
to hear of such people as Barada Babu I I must have an 
interview with a man like this, if only for once. How 
does he spend his days ? 

Beni. — He is engaged in business most of the day, but 
he is not like other people. Most men who are engaged 
in business think solely of position or wealth : he does 
not think so much of these things : he knows well that 
wealth and position are but as a drop of water : they may 
be pleasant to see, pleasant to hear of, but they do not 
accompany a man beyond the grave : nay, unless a man 
walks with great circumspection, they may both generate 
in him an evil disposition. His chief object in engaging 
in business is to get the means of exercising and putting 
to the test his own* virtues. In a business career, bad 
qualities such as avarice, ill-will, and want of principle, 
are brought into prominence, and it is by the onslaught 
of such enemies that men are ruined. On the other hand, 
the truly virtuous man is the man who proceeds with 
circumspection. To talk of virtue in the abstract is an 
easy thing enough, but unless a man gives an illustration 



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F 

TBB SPOILT CHILD. 89 \ 

% of it in, his own conduct, his words are a sham. Barada 
Babo is always saying that the world resembles a school. 
Oennihe virtue is the outcome of a thorough discipline of 
the mind in the business of life. 

Becharam. — Surely Barada Babu does not regard wealth 
as a thing of no account ? 

Beni. — No, not at all ; he by no means considers wealth 
despicable, but virtue comes first in his estimation. Wealth 
is only of secondary importance ; that is to say, in thp 
acquisition of wealth, due regard must be paid to the 
maintenance of virtue. 

Becharam^— What does Barada Babu do with himself in 
the evenings ? 

Beni. — When once the evening has set in, he spends his 
time in profitable conversation with his family, and in 
reading or listening to their talk. The members of his 
family all try to follow his example, observing the ex- 
cellence of his character. He is so attached to his 
family that the heartfelt prayer of his wife is that she 
may have such another husband in all her births: if they* 
lose sight of him even for a moment, his children fret 
with impatience. Barada Babu'p daughters are as good 
as his sons. While in many homes brothers and sisters 
are continually grumbling and quarrelling with each other, 
Barada Babu's children never exchange high words: always, 
whether at their lessons, or at their meals, they converse 
affectionately together ; and they are very unhappy if their 
. parents are at all ailing. 

Becharam.— I have heard that Barada Babu is always 
about in the village. 

Beni.—- That is quite true. Whenever he hears of any 
one being in trouble, or in misfortune, or sick, he cannot 
remain quiet at home. He assists many of his neighbours 
in manifold ways, but he never even hints it to any one : 



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90 THE SPOILT CHIL11. % 

i 
when lie has done a kindness to another, he considers 

himself the person benefited. 

Becharam. — Ah, friend Beni, my eyes have " never 
looked on snch a man, mnch less have I ever heard him 
with my ears 1 Why, association with such a character 
would make even an old man good, much more help a 
yonng hoy to grow np virtuous. Ah, my friend ! it will 
indeed be a gratifying thing if the younger son of Babu- 
ram manages to grow up a good man. 



c - •■ 



» . J . . . . . . . » • . . *-- . • - • 

. . . _ ' . . . . \ 



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CHAPTER XIII. 
Barada Babu's Pupil. 
Barada Babu had an extraordinary and unusual know- 
ledge of educational methods. He had special acquaintance 
with all the different faculties and emotions of the mind, 
and with the methods whereby men may become intelligent 
mild virtuous by the proper exercise of them. A teacher's 
work is no light one : there are many who have but a 
mere smattering of knowledge, and take up teaching just 
from want of other occupation ; good instruction cannot 
be expected from men of this type. To be a genuine 
teacher, a man must be thoroughly acquainted with the 
whole tendency of the mind and all its energies ; and 
he must by calm and patient observation discover and 
learn the best way to become a really practical guide 
of youth. To teach in a haphazard fashion, without doing 
something of this kind, is like striking a stone with a 
ioddli; it may fall on the stone a hundred times, but 
not a handful of soil will it cut. Now Barada Babu 
was a man of great acuteness and shrewd observation : 
he had so long paid special attention to the subject of 
education that he was well versed in the best methods of 
instruction : and the learning that was imparted according 
his system was really solid. As education is now in 
•Government schools, its real end is not attained, for the 
reason that nothing is done for the harmonious develop^ 
inent of the faculties of the mind and the emotions. The 
-scholars learn everything by heart, and consequently 
jnemory alone is awakened i the faculty of thought and 



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92 TUB SPOILT CHILD. 

reflection generally lies dormant, and the idea of bring- 
ing the different activities of the mind into play seems 
not to exist. The chief end of education being to develop 
*U the mental powers and qualities harmoniously with the 
gradual growth of the scholar, one faculty should not be 
abnormally exerted at the expense of another. Just as 
the body gets compact and grows well-knit by an harmo- 
nious exercise of all the limbs, so the mind is strengthened 
and the intelligence developed by an harmonious exer- 
cise of the sum total of their energies. All the moral 
qualities likewise should be simultaneously elicited : be- 
cause one may be brought into play it does not follow 
that all will be. Reverence for truth, for instance, may 
be developed, without a single particle of kindliness : 
a man may have a large element of kindliness in hi9 
nature, but no practical knowledge of the business of life. 
Again, he may be perfectly honest in his business re- 
lations, and yet display indifference or absolute want of 
affection for his father, mother, wife and children ; or 
Jie may be all that is proper in his domestic relations, 
but wanting in uprightness in his business affairs. Barada 
Babu was well aware in fact, that faith in God was the 
foundation of the due development and exercise of the 
qualities of the mind, and that they could only be duly 
developed in proportion as that faith increased ; for other- 
wise the task was as futile as trying to write on water. 

Most fortunately for him, Ramlall had become Barada 
;Babu's pupil, and all his faculties were being harmoniously 
developed and exercised. Association with a good man 
is a far more potent factor in developing moral qualities 
£han mere instruction ; indeed by such intercourse a mind 
may be as completely transformed as a branch of the wild 
plum grafted on to a mango tree. So great is the majesty 
pf. a really noble character that even its shadow falling 



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TBE SPOILT CB1LD. 95 

on one that" is base -and corrupt raises it in time to its own 
image. By association with Barada Babu the mind of 
Ramlail became almost a complete reflection of his. With 
the object of making himself strong, as soon as he 
rose in the morning, he would take a stroll in the 
open air ; for strength of mind he knew could not exist 
without strength of body : after his walk, he would return 
home and engage in prayer and meditation. The only 
books he read were those the perusal of which promoted 
the growth of intelligence and good character, and the 
only persons he conversed with were those whose con- 
versation had the same effect. On merely hearing the 
name of any good person, he would go and visit him, 
making no enquiries about his caste or condition in life. 
So keen was his intelligence that in conversation with 
anyone he would speak only on matters of real moment : 
he had no taste for gossip. If anybody spoke on sub- 
jects of but trifling importance, he succeeded by force 
of his, intelligence in extracting the pith of the matter, 
as a fruit-extractor the pulp of the fruit. The steady 
growth of faith in God, of morality, and of a good un- 
derstanding formed the burden of his meditations. By 
such consistent conduct as this, his disposition, his cha- 
racter and his whole conduct became more and more 
worthy of commendation. 

^ Goodness can never be hid. The people in the village 
would say to each other : " Ah, Ramlail is the Prahlad 
. of a family of Daityas." In all their griefs and mis- 
fortunes he was ever to the front with his help. He did 
all he could think of to assist any in need of help, by 
his personal exertions on their behalf, whether with his 
purse or with his understanding. Old and young, they 
, Were all known to Ramlail, and were all his friends* 
If. they heard him. abused,. it was as though -a dart had 



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94 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

pierced their ears ; if they heard him praised, great was 
the rejoicing. The old women of the village would say 
to each other : " If we had such a child we should never 
let him out of our sight. Oh, what a store of merit must ' 
his mother have laid up to have got a son like this ! '*■ 
The young women, observing RamlalPs beauty and good 
qualities, exclaimed in their hearts : " God grant that 
such a husband may fall to our lot ! " 

Randall's good disposition and character were mani- 
fested in manifold ways, both at home and abroad. He 
never failed in any single particular of his duty to- 
wards each member of his home circle. His father, 
observing him, thought to himself ; — " Ah, my younger 
son is becoming lax in his observances of Hindu religi- 
ous customs! he does not keep the sacred mark on his 
forehead, nor use the customary vessels at his prayers, 
nor even the beads for the repetition of the sacred 
name of Sort : and yet he (Joes perform his devotions 
fcfter his own manner, and is not addicted to vice. We 
may tell any number of lies : the boy, on the contrary, 
knows nothing but the truth. He is most devoted to 
his parents, yet never consents to what he thinks wrong, 
even at our urgent request. Now I find a good deal 
of duplicity necessary in my business : both truth and 
falsehood are requisite. How otherwise could I keep up 
thfr great festivals that I have constantly to be celebrating 
in my house, the Dol Jatra, the Durga Pujah and 
others ? Now Matilall may be a wicked boy, but he keeps 
up his Hindu observances ; besides, after all, I do not 
think he is so very bad ; he is young yet, he must sow his 
wild oats." RamlalPs mother and sisters were deeply 
affected by his many good qualities : they rejoiced with 
the joy of those who out of dense darkness see light. 
MatUalPs evil behaviour had had a most distressing effect 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. & 

i 

tlpon them i bowed down as they had been in shame 
at the evil reports they heard of him, they had known 
little ease of mind. Now again there was in their hearts, 
because of Randall's good qualities, and their faces were 
lighted U P ^h J 7 # ^ one ^ me a ^ *k° men-servants and 
v maid-servants of the house, getting only abuse or blows 
from Matilall, had been in terror of their lives : now, 
softened by RamlalTs gentle address and kind treatment, 
they paid all the greater attention to their work. 

When Matilall and his companions, .Haladhar and Gada- 
dhar, saw this behaviour of Ramlall, they remarked to each 
pther that the boy had gone silly, — must be cracked,— and 
said to the master of the house : M This brat should certainly 
be sent to a lunatic asylum : he is a mere child, yet his 
sole talk day and night is of virtue : it is disgusting to 
hear an old man's words in the mouth of a child. " Others 
of MatilalPs companions would occasionally say i — " Mati 
Babu, you are in luck's way 2 things don't look promis- 
ing for Ramlall 2 he will soon come to grief if he makes 
a parade of virtue like this 2 you will then get all the 
' property, and there will be no obstacle to your complete 
enjoyment. Even if he does live, he will be little better 
than an idiot. But what can you expect? what says 
the proverb ? * As the teacher so the taught. ' Could' he 
find no other master in this wide world that he must get 
hold of some mantras from an Eastern Bengalee, and go 
wandering about parading his virtue before the world ? 
If he does this much more, we will send him and his 
teacher about their business. The canting humbug ! he 
goes about saying 2 * Ah, how happy I should be if my 
elder brother were to give up the society of his evil 
companions I ' 'Ah, if my elder brother were only to 
frequent the society of Barada Babu, what a good thing it 
Should be l r Ha ha ! Barada Babu indeed,— the dismal 



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96 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

qld blockhead, a very prince of prigs. Look out, Mati 
Babu : take care that you do not after all get under his 
influence and go to him ? What, are we to go to school 
again ? If he wishes, let him come to us and be taught : 
we are very hard up for a little amusement." 

Thakchacha was always hearing about Ramlall, and he 
began to think the matter over: the one aim of his life 
was to find a favourable opportunity for making a success- 
ful swoop or two on Baburam Babu's property. So far, 
most of the suits-at-law had. ended disastrously, and he 
had had no opportunity for such a stroke : yet he never 
failed to keep on baiting his ground before casting his 
nets. Ramlall however having become what he was, he 
could not expect any fish to fall into his net, for however 
skilfully it might be cast the boy would advise his father not 
to enter it. Thakchacha saw then that a great obstacle 
had presented itself in his way and he thus reflected : 
** The moon of hope must have sunk behind a cloud of 
despair, for it is no longer visible." After profound 
deliberation, he observed one day to his employer; — " Babu 
Saheb, your youngest son's behaviour has made me very 
anxious : I do * not think he can be quite right in his 
mind. He is always angry with me and tells every- 
body that I have corrupted you : my heart is wounded 
when I hear this. Ah, Babu Saheb ! this is not as it 
should be : if he speaks like this to me, he may one 
day speak harshly to you. The boy will doubtless become 
good and gentle in time, but now he is boorish and 
rude, and must be corrected; besides, so far as I can 
judge, you may lose all your property if this course 
is allowed." . A casual remark may very easily disturb 
the mind of a man who is naturally rather dense. As a 
boat in the hands of an unskilful steersman is tossed 
about in a storm, unable to make the shore, so a dull- 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 97 

gritted man is in almost constant perplexity, seeing only 
chaos around him : ho can himself como to no decision on 
the merits of any subject. For one thing, poor Baburam 
Babu was naturally rather thick-headed, and for another, 
Thakchacha's words were to him as the sacred Vedas : 
so he stood stupidly gazing about like & man in a maze, 
and after a while asked Thakchacha what plan he could 
suggest That astute individual replied : " Your boy, sir, is 
not a wicked boy : it is Barada Babu that is the origin of 
all the mischief. Only get him out of the way, and the boy 
will be all right. Ah, Babu Saheb ! the son of a Hindu 
should observe all the ordinances of his religion as a 
Hindu. A man has need of both goo'd and bad qualities 
if he is to engage in the business of this life : the world 
is not all honest : what use would it be to me if I were the 
only upright man in it? " 

Men always regard with approval, as the opinion of a 
really great mind, language that is in keeping with 
their own convictions. Thakchacha was well aware that 
he had only to talk about the observance of Hindu 
ceremonial, and the preservation of property, and his aim 
would be accomplished ; and, as a matter of fact, it was 
by such talk that he achieved his end. "When Baburam 
heard the advice Thakchacha gave, he acquiesced at once 
in it, remarking : "If this is your opinion, finish the matter 
off at once : I will supply you with any money you may 
want, but you must work out the plan yourself." 

There was a good deal of discussion of this kind about 
RamlaU. "Many sages, many saws," says the proverb. 
Some said : "The boy is good in this respect : " others would 
reply : " But not good in this." One critic complained : 
" He is deficient in one important quality, which makes 
all his other excellences go for nothing, just as when a 
speck of cow-dung has fallen into a vessel of milk, the 
o,sc 7 



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98 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

whole is tainted." Another retorted : "The hoy is perfect." 
Thus time went on. At last it chanced that Baburam 
Babu's eldest daughter fell dangerously ill. Her parents 
called in a number of physicians to see her. Matilall, 
needless to say, never once came near his sister, but went 
about saying that a speedy death was preferable to the life 
of a widow in a rich man's house ; and during the time of 
her illness, he only indulged himself the more. Ramlall 
on the other hand was unremitting in his attention : fore- 
going both food and sleep, and full of anxious thought, he 
exerted himself to the utmost for the girl's recovery. But 
she did not recover, and as she was dying she put her 
hand on her younger brother's head, saying : " Ah, brother 
Bam ! if I die, and am born a girl in my next birth, God 
grant that I may have a brother like you. I cannot tell 
you what you have done for me. God make you as happy 
as you wish." With these words, his sister breathed her 
last. .*.•'' 



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CHAPTER XIV. 
The False Charge. 

Boys who are at all wild are not to be satisfied with 
ordinary amusements : they constantly require new and 
fresh sources of pleasure, and if they do not find what they 
want abroad, they will return and sit in melancholy brood- 
ing at home. Those that have uncles at homo perhaps 
recover their lost spirits, for they can chaff and joke with 
them to their heart's content : they will at least go so far as 
to jest about making arrangements for their last journey 
to the Ganges, on the ground that they are a burden to 
the family. But when such is not the case, they are bored 
to death, and regard the world with the eyes of a man 
who is sick of life. Passionately devoted as they were to 
practical joking of all kinds, Matilall and his companions 
invented ever new pranks, and it was hard to foretell 
what would bo their next. Their thirst for some form 
of amusement became more intense every day: one 
kind might occupy them for a day or two, but it soon 
palled upon them, and they suffered torments of ennui if 
nothing else turned up. Such was the way in which 
Matilall and his companions spent their days. In course 
of time, it became incumbent on each of them in turn 
to devise something new in the way of amusement. 

So one day Haladhar wrapped Dolgovinda up in a 
quilt and, after instructing all his chums in their different 
parts, repaired to the house of Brojonath, the kabiraj. 
It was thick with smoke from the preparation of drugs : 
different operations were in progress : powders were 



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100 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

being prepared, made up of a number of different in- 
gredients ; essential oils were being refined, and gold 
ground into powder. The kabiraj himself was just on 
the point of leaving his house, with a box of his drugs 
in one hand and a bottle of oil in the other, when Hala- 
dhar arrived and said to him : " Oh, sir, please come as 
quick as you can : a boy is very ill of fever in the house 
of a zemindar, and he seems to be in a very critical state : 
his life and your fame, you see, are both at stake : you will 
get undying honour if you restore him to health again. It 
is thought that he may get all right by the administration 
of some very powerful drug : if you can succeed in curing 
him, you will be richly rewarded." Upon this, the kabiraj 
made all haste, and was soon at the bedside of the patient. 

The young Babus, who were all present, called out : 
" Welcome, welcome, sir kabiraj, may you revive us all ! 
Dolgovinda ha3 been lying on his bed some fifteen days 
with this fever: his temperature is very high, and he 
puffers from terrible thirst : he gets no sleep at night, 
only tosses restlessly about. Please examine his pulse 
carefully, sir, and meanwhile refresh yourself by having 
a smoke." Brojonath was a very old man, without much 
education : he was not very skilful even at his own trade, 
had no opinions of his own, and could do nothing on his 
own responsibility. In person he was emaciated, with no 
teeth, a harsh voice, and a heavy grey moustache, of 
which he was so enamoured that he was always stroking 
it. He sighed as he looked at the patient's hand, and sat 
perfectly motionless. Haladhar then said to him : " Honour- 
ed sir, have you nothing to say ? " The kabiraj without 
replying gazed intently on the face of the patient, who 
was glaring wildly about him, lolling his tongue out, and 
grinding his teeth. He also gave a tug at the kabirafs 
moustache : and as he moved away a little, the boy rolled 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 101 

about and straggled to get hold of the bottle of oil in his 
hand. The Babus then said : " Come tell us, sir, what is 
the matter ? " The kabiraj replied : "The attack is a very 
severe one : there seems to be high fever and delirium. 
If I had only had news a little earlier, I might have 
managed to cure him : as it is, it would be impossible' even 
for Shiva to do so." As he spoke, the patient got hold of 
his bottle of oil, and rubbed a good handful of it over 
his body. The kabiraj seeing the visit was likely to cost 
him dear, hurriedly took the bottle away, corked it 
well, and got up to go. "Where are you going, sir?" 
They all cried. The kabiraj replied : " The delirium 
is gradually increasing : I do not think there i3 any 
further necessity for keeping the patient in the house : 
you should now exert yourselves to make his end a happy 
one by taking him to the Granges to die." 

As soon as he heard this, the patient jumped up, and the 
kabiraj started back at the sight. The young Babus of 
Vaidyabati ran after him, and as the kabiraj, who had gone 
on a short distance, stopped dumbfounded and amazed, they 
began to hustle him, with shouts of " Hori Bol : Hori 
'Sol: 99 and one of them threw him over his shoulders, 
and started for. the Ganges. Dolgovinda then came up 
to him, and said : " Aha my dear sir, you gave orders 
to have the patient taken to the Ganges : the doctor him- 
self it is who is now being carried thither ! I will myself 
perform the ceremony of putting you into the water, and 
of then throwing you on to the funeral pyre." The 
views of the fickle are ever changing, and so a little 
later he said : " "Will you send me to the Ganges again ? 
Go, my dear friend ! go to your home, and to your 
children, but before you go, you must give me that bottle of 
oil. With these words, he snatched the bottle from the 
kabiraj 9 and all the young lunatics, smearing themselves over 



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102 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

"with the oil, leaped into the Ganges. The kabiraj became 
as one bereft of his senses when he saw all this, and thinking 
that he might breathe again if he could only get away, he 
increased his pace. Thereupon Haladhar, as he was swim- 
ming about, screamed out : " Ho there, respected kabiraj ! 
I am gething more and more bilious every day : yon 
must give me some of your powders to take : do not run 
away : if you do, your wife will have to remove her bracelet 
and be a widow." The kabiraj threw down his box of 
drugs, and hurried home crying, " Alas ! alas ! " 

In the month of Phalgun, as spring comes in, all the trees 
are coming out in new leaf, and the sweet odour of flowers 
is diffused around. Barada Babu's dwelling-house was 
on the banks of the Ganges : some little distance in front 
of it was his. favourite garden-house, and all Tound it a 
garden. Barada Babu used to sit every evening in the 
garden-house, to enjoy the fresh air and his own meditations, 
or to converse with any friends who might visit him there. 
Ramlall was always with him, and was made the confi- 
dant of his most secret thoughts, whereby he obtained 
much good advice. ' At every opportunity, he would ques- 
tion his preceptor minutely on the means of attaining to 
a knowledge of the Supreme Being, and to perfect purity 
of mind. 

- One day Ramlall remarked to Barada Babu : " Sir, I 
have a great longing to travel : staying here, it is a con- 
stant grief to me to listen to the bad language of my elder 
brother and the evil counsel of Thakchacha, but my love 
for my parents and for my sister makes me disinclined to 
stir from home. I cannot decide what to do." Barada 
Babu replied; — "Much benefit is to be derived from travel : 
breadth of vision is not to be had without it : the mind is 
enlarged by the sight of different countries, and different 
% people. Much knowledge too is acquired by a minute 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 103 

enquiry into the different customs of the people of differ- 
ent countries, into their habits, and the causes determining 
their condition, whether good or bad. Association more- 
over with all sorts of people, causes bitter prejudices to 
disappear and induces good feeling. If a man is edu- 
cated only at home, his knowledge is derived from books 
only. Now education, association with good men, prac- 
tical employment, and intercourse with all sorts of people, 
are all necessary to a man : it is by agencies such as 
this that the understanding becomes clear, and an im- 
petus is given towards the moulding of a good character. 
But before he sets out on his travels, it is all important that 
a man should know the different matters he will require to 
investigate, for without this, travel will prove a mere aim- 
less wandering about, like the circling round and round 
of an ox when threshing out the grain. I do not go so 
far as to say that no benefit is to be had from such travel- 
ling, that is not my imeaning : some benefit or other there 
must be. But when a man on his travels is ignorant of the 
kind of enquiries he ought to make, and cannot make 
them, he does not derive the full benefit of his labour. Many 
Bengalees are fond of travelling about, but if you ask them 
for facts about the places they visit, how many of them can 
give you a sensible answer? This is not altogether their own 
fault, it is the result of their bringing-up. A good under- 
standing is not to be had all at once from the "sky, without 
some training in the art of observation, enquiry and reflec- 
tion. In the education of children it is requisite that an op- 
portunity should be given them of seeing models of a great 
variety of objects : as they look at all the pictures, they 
will compare one with another : that is to say, they will 
see that one object has a hand, another has no foot, that 
one has a peculiar mouth, another no tail ; and by such 
comparison the faculties of observation and reflection will 



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104 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

be brought into play and developed. After a time such 
comparisons will come easy to tbem ; they will be able 
to reflect on the causes for the peculiarities of different 
objects, and will have no difficulty in perceiving the 
various classes into which they naturally fall. By in- 
struction of this kind, assiduity in research is encouraged 
t and the faculty of reasoning exercised. But in our country 
an 'education like this is hardly ever given, and as a 
natural consequence, our wits are muddled and run to 
waste r we have no instinctive perception of the essential 
and unessential features of any enquiry. When a ques- 
tion is under consideration, many of us have not even the 
requisite intelligence to know what kind of enquiries 
should be made in order that a conclusion may be arrived 
at ; and it is no falsehood to say that the travels of a 
good many people are but idle and profitless. But con- 
sidering the education you have had, I should imagine 
that travel would be of great advantage to you." 

"Now if I do go abroad" said Ramlall, " I shall have to 
stay for some time in places where there is society : and 
with what classes, and with what kinds of people, should 
I chiefly associate ?" 

"That is no easy question," Barada Babu replied : "I must 
contrive though to give you some kind of an answer. In 
every rank in life there are people good and bad : any good 
people you may come across you may associate with ; but 
you know by now how to recognise such : I need not 
tell you again. Association with Englishmen may make 
a man courageous, for they worship courage, and . any 
Englishman committing a cowardly act, is not admitted 
into good society. .But it does not at all follow that a man 
is therefore virtuous because he happens to be courageous. 
\ Courage is very essential to everybody, I admit ; but real 
courage is that which is the outcome of virtue. I have 



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THE SPOILT CniLD. 105 

told you already and now tell you again, that you must 
alwap meditate on the Supreme Being, otherwise all that 
you see, or hear, or learn, will only have the effect of 
increasing your pride. One thing more : men often wish 
to do what they see others doing ; the Bengalees especial- 
ly, from association with Englishmen, have acquired a 
false superficial kind of Anglicism, and are filled with 
self-conceit in consequence; pride is the motive force in 
all they do. It will do you no harm to remember this." 

They were conversing together in this way when sud- 
denly some police-officers rushed in from the west side of 
the garden and surrounded Barada Babu. He looked at 
them sharply, and asked them who they were and what 
their business with him was. They replied : " We are offi- 
cers connected with the police : there is a warrant out 
against you on the charge of illegal confinement and 
assault, and you will have to appear before the Court of 
the English Magistrate of Hooghly ; we shall have more- 
over to search your premises for proofs of the charge." 
Ramlall rose up at these words, and when he had read the 
warrant, ho shook with rage at the falsity of the charge, 
Barada Babu took his hand and made him sit down again, 
saying: "Do not put yourself out: let the matter be thorough- 
ly well sifted. All sorts of strange accidents befall us on 
earth, but there is no need to be disturbed in mind at all 
when calamity comes : to be agitated in the presence of 
misfortune is the mark of an ignorant mind. Besides, I am 
conscious of my entire innocence of the crime I am accused 
of: what cause then have - 1 for fear? Still the order of 
the court must be attended to, so I* shall put in an im- 
mediate appearance. Let the officers search my house, 
and see with their own eyes that there is no one con- 
cealed there." The police-officers having received this 
order, searched everywhere but found nothing. Barada 



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106 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

Babu then had a boat fetched, and made all his arrange- 
ments for his journey to Hooghly* Meanwhile by some 
good chance Beni Babu arrived at his house, so he set 
out on his journey to Hooghly, taking Beni and Ramlall 
with him. Both were somewhat anxious, but by his 
cheerful conversation on a variety of topics, he soon put 
them at their ease. 



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CHAPTER XV. 
Trial of Barada Babu. 

The court of the magistrate of Hooghly was crowded. 
The defendants in the different suits pending, the com- 
plainants, witnesses, prisoners, pleaders and officers were 
all present The majority were restless and impatient, 
anxiously awaiting the arrival of the magistrate, bnt he 
was not yet even in sight. Barada Babu, taking Beni 
Babn and Ramlall with him, spread a blanket under- 
neath a tree, and sat down. Some of the clerks of the 
court who were near, came up to him and began to 
talk significantly about coming to an arrangement, but 
Barada Babu refused to pay any heed to them. Then, 
with the view of exciting his fears, they observed : u The 
magistrate's orders are very severe ; but everything is 
left to us, and we can do exactly what we think fit : it 
is our business to draw up the depositions, so we can 
upset everything. by a mere stroke of the pen; but we 
must have money. An investigation will have to be made, 
and this is the time it should be done : our best efforts, 
will be useless when the orders in the case have once been 
passed." Ramlall on hearing all this was a little alarm- 
ed, but Barada Babu replied quite fearlessly : "Gentle- 
men, you must do whatever is your duty. I will never con- 
sent to give a bribe. I am perfectly innocent and have no 
fears." The clerks of the court went off to their places in 
high wrath. 

Presently some pleaders came up and said to him : 
u We perceive, sir, that you are a very respectable man, 



IHy i' | i f i i i . ' ww i ,jM ii wuwi,uiBjj| ii ij n ii « m j j, ji i muu ii ,u_ hjj nm. m t 



108 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

• 

and have evidently fallen into some trouble ; but you must 
take care that your case is not lost for want of proper 
investigation. If you wish to have witnesses prepared, 
we can supply you with some on the spot : we have 
every facility for doing so at a trifling expense. The 
magistrate will be here directly, so seize this opportunity to 
do what is necessary." Barada Babu answered : " Gentle- 
men, you are extremely kind ; but even should I have to 
wear fetters, I will wear them. I shall not be much troubled 
in mind at that : it will be a disgrace, I know, — I am ready 
to acknowledge it as such ; but I will not walk in the 
way of falsehood even to save my life." " Good heavens !" 
they exclaimed ironically, "here is a man belonging to 
the Golden Age. Surely King Yudhishthira come to 
life again I" and they went away laughing quietly to 
themselves. 

It was now past two o'clock and still there was no sign 
of the magistrate : all were looking out for him as intently 
aa -crows on a sacred ghat. Some among them said to a 
Brahman astrologer who was present: "Pray sir, calculate 
for us whether the magistrate will come to-day' or not" 
The astrologer at once replied : " Come, tell me the name 
of some flower." Somebody mentioned an hibiscus. The 
astrologer, calculating on his fingers, said, "No, the magis- 
trate will not come to-day : he has business at home." 
Believing the charlatan's words implicitly, they all made 
preparations to tie up their bundles of records, and got up, 
saying to each other : " Ah, Ram, Ram ! now we breathe 
freely again, let us go home and sleep." 
► Thakchacha had been sitting with four others within the 
court enclosure, with a bundle of papers under his arm and 
a cloth over his face : he was now walking about, his eyes 
blinking restlessly, his beard waving in the breeze and his 
head bent low. Just then Randall's gaze fell on him and 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 109 

he remarked to Barada Babu and Beni Babu : " See, see ! 
Thakchacha is here ! I fancy he is at tho bottom of all 
this, otherwise why shonld he turn away his head when he 
saw me ? " Barada Babn, raising his head, saw him and 
said, "1 think so too ; he is looking sideways in our direc- 
tion, and moreover whenever his gaze falls on my face he 
tarns and says something to his companions : it seems to 
me that Thakchacha is our evil genins ; as the proverb has 
it, "he is the spirit in the sirish seed." 

Beni Babu was never seen without a smile on his face : 
his pleasantry was of great service to him in his search 
for information. He could not refrain from shouting out 
the name of Thakchacha, but none of his shouts were 
attended to. Thakchacha had drawn a paper from under 
bis arm and was to all appearance busily examining it : he 
pretended not to hear and did not even raise his head. 
Thereupon Beni Babu went up to him, and with his charac- 
teristic gesture said to him : " Hallo, what is the matter ? 
What has brought you here ? " Thakchacha said nothing, 
only examined his paper minutely ; indeed he seemed to 
be seized with a sudden fit of modesty. But as he must, 
he thought, put Beni Babu off somehow or other without 
answering his question, he replied : " Ha, Babu ! The 
river has risen a good deal to-day, how will you get back? 
I might as well ask you too why you are here, and why you 
keep on asking me the same thing. I have a good deal of 
business on hand just now and my time is short : I will 
speak with you later on : I will return directly." With 
these words, Thakchacha slipped away, and was soon ap- 
parently engrossed in some trifling conversation with his 
companions. 

Three o'clock struck : everybody was walking about 
impatiently. There is no chance of getting business 
promptly attended to in the Mofussil, and people get 



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110 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

utterly, dreary of hanging abont the courts. They were 
just breaking up when suddenly the magistrate's carriage 
was heard approaching. Shouts were at once raised: 
" The Saheb is coming ! The Saheb is coming !" The 
astrologer looked utterly crestfallen, and people began 
to say to him : " Your honour's calculations are some- 
what amazing." "Ah ! " replied he, "it must be owing to 
something pungent that I have eaten to-day that my cal- 
culations have been so upset." The clerks of the court 
were all standing in their places, and directly the magis- 
trate entered they all bent their heads low to the ground 
and salaamed to him. 

The magistrate took his seat on the bench whistling 
casually. His hooka bearer brought him his hooka : he 
put his feet up on the table, and lying back in his chair, 1 
pulled away contentedly, now and then drawing out his 
handkerchief, which was scented with lavender-water, to 
mop his face. /The office of the court interpreter was 
crowded. Men were hard at work writing out deposi- 
tions, but as the old proverb has it : " He wins who 
pays." The head clerk of the court, the sheristadar, 
with a shawl over his shoulders and a fine turban on 
his head, took a number of records of cases and read 
them out in a sing-song before the magistrate, who 
all the while was glancing at a newspaper, or writing 
some of his own private letters : as each case was read 
out he asked: "Well, what is all this about?" The 
sheristadar gave him the information that suited his 
own wishes on the subject, and the opinion of the 
sheristadar was practically the opinion of the magistrate. 

Barada Babu was standing on one side with Beni 
Babu and Ramlall, and was perfectly amazed when he 
heard the kind of judgments that were being delivered. 
Considering the depositions that had been made in 



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THE SPOILT CHILD 111 

his own case, he began to think that there was very little 
chance of matters taming ont auspiciously for him. That 
the sheristadar would show him any favour was in the j 

highest degree improbable, but he knew the old proverb : j 

" Destiny is the friend of the helpless." As he thus re- j 

fleeted, his case was called on for hearing. Thakchacha f 

had been sitting inside the court : he at once took his i 

witnesses with him, and stood before the magistrate, proud ; 

and confident When the papers in the case had been 
read, the sheristadar said: "My lord, this is a clear 
case of illegal confinement and assault." Thakchacha 
thereupon ceased stroking his moustache and glared at 
Barada Babu, thinking that at last his end was achieved.. 
In the other cases no questions had been put to the 
defendants when the records had been read : they had f 

been treated as summarily as goats for the sacrifice ; [ 

but the magistrate's glance, as luck would have it, falling .| 

upon Barada Babu before he passed his orders, the latter 
respectfully explained to him in English, all the circum- 
stances of the case, saying : " I have never even seen the 
person who has been put forward as having been confined 
and assaulted by me, nor did the police-officers when they J r 

searched my premises find anybody there. Beni Babu and ' I 

Randall were with me at the time ; if you will be good } 

enough to take their evidence, my declaration will be sub- f 

stantiated." * 

Remarking the gentlemanly appearance of Barada 
Babu and the good judgment that had distinguished his 
language, the magistrate was anxious to make an enquiry. 
Thakchacha gave many significant hints to the sherista- 
dar, and he for his own part, seeing the turn things 
were taking, reflected that he might after all have to 
disgorge the rupees he had taken, so laying aside all his 
fears before the magistrate, he said: " My lord, there is 



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112 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

really no necessity for hearing this case over again/* 
Upon this the magistrate pnrsed his lips in some per* 
plexity and turned the matter over in his mind, cutting 
his nails the while. Barada Babu seeing his opportu- 
nity again explained to him, quietly and in detail, the real 
ftcts of the case. As soon as the magistrate had heard 
him, he took the evidence of Beni Babu and Ramlall, 
and the charge appearing upon their statements to be 
manifestly a false one, was dismissed. 

The final orders had not been passed before Thakchacha 
was off as hard as he could run. Barada Babu saluted 
the magistrate respectfully and went out. When the court 
was closed, everybody began to compliment him : he paid 
little heed however to them and manifested no particular 
pleasure at winning his case, but quietly got into his boat, 
accompanied by Beni Babu and Ramlall. 



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CHAPTER XVI. 
Thakchacha at Home. 

Thakchacha*s house was on the outskirts of the city : 
on either side of it were filthy tanks, and in front the shrine 
of some guardian saint. Inside the enclosure was a store- 
house for grain, and ducks and fowls were running about 
the yard. Rogues of every description were in the habit of 
assembling at the house early every morning. 

Thakchacha could assume many characters in the con- 
duct of his business : he could be gentle or passionate : he 
could laugh or frown : he could make a parade of virtue 
or a show of force, with equal facility. When the busi- 
• ness of the day was over, he would take his bath and his 
food, and then sit by his wife and smoke : and as he 
smoked the tobacco would gurgle and hiss in its well- 
chased bowl of Bidri ware. Their conversation was gene- 
rally on their mutual joys and sorrows. 

Thakchacha's wife was held in great repute amongst the 
women of the district. They were firmly convinced that 
she was well versed in religious ritual and incantations, 
in the art of making bad qualities good, in mesmerising, 
in causing even death or timely disappearances, in magic 
and sorcery, and in fact in every variety of the black art. 
For this reason women of all classes of life came con- 
stantly to her to hold secret converse. An old proverb 
has it: "As the god, so the goddess," and Thakchacha 
and his wife were a well-matched pair : the husband 
got his living by his wits, and the wife by her reputed 
learning. 



o, sc 

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114 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

A woman who earns her own living is apt to become 
somewhat imperious, and her husband rarely receives from 
her unfeigned respect and attention. Thakchacha had con- 
sequently to put up occasionally with his wife's reproaches. 
She was now sitting upon a low cane stool, saying to her 
husband : " You are always roaming about* everywhere 
but at home. What good does it all do to me or the 
children ? You are always saying that you have such a 
lot of business on hand ; is our hunger appeased by such 
talk as that ? Now it is the desire of my heart to dress 
well and to mix in the society of women of good position, 
but I never get a glimpse of any money. You go wander- 
ing about like a lunatic ; do remain quietly at home for a 
change." Thakchacha replied somewhat testily : " How 
can I possibly tell you all the trouble I have had to undergo. 
Look at my great anxieties, look at all the artifices, intrigues 
and trickery I have to employ : I have no* language to 
express it all. Then just as the game is on the point of fall- 
ing into my hands, off it flies again. Never mind, sooner 
or later it will be caught." Just at this moment, a ser- 
vant came to tell them that a messenger was arrived from 
Baburam Babu's house to summon Thakchacha, who there- 
upon looked at his wife and said : u You see, the Babu is 
continually sending for me : he will do nothing without 
consulting me. I will strike when the hour is come." 
. Baburam Babu was seated in his reception-hall : with 
him were Bancharam Babu of Outer Simla, Beni Babu 
of Bally, and Becharam Babu of Bow Bazar : they were 
all chatting hard. Thakchacha sat down among them as 
a monkey chief might sit amidst his subjects. Baburam 
at once greeted him : " Ha, Thakchacha, your arrival 
is most opportune : my difficulties are as great as ever : 
I am more involved than ever in these law-suits. Come 
and tell me some way of preserving my property. 

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THE "SPOILT CHILD. 115 

" TKalcKaehu — Litigation b natural to a man who is a 
man. Your misfortunes will all be at an end when your 
case* are won : why then should you feel alarmed ? 

Bcckaram.— Mercy t what advice is this you are giving ? 
Baburam Babu will be completely ruined by your instru- 
mentality : of that there is not the slightest doubt What 
do yon say, Beni, my dear friend? 

Beni. — Some portions of the estate should be sold, I' 
think, to clear off the debts, and some arrangements made 
for reducing the expenditure : the suits-at-law also should 
bo looked into and cleared off. But our words are wasted, 
like one crying in a bamboo jungle. Thakchacha's are 
the "only words attended to. 

Thakchacha. — I pledge my word of honour that all the 
suits that have been instituted at my instigation will be ? 
gained : I will clear all the difficulties away. Fighting is 
one of the necessities of man's existence : what cause 
then is there for alarm ? 

Becharam. — Ah, Thakchacha, how grand is the heroism 
you have always exhibited ! What a magnificent display 
of courage you made when the boat was swamped ! Why 
it was all on your account that we suffered so on the oc- 
casion of the marriage. You displayed great bravery, I 
must say, in getting up that false charge against Barada 
Babu. Not one of the affairs of Baburam Babu in which 
you have meddled but has turned out most prosperously ! 
All hail to you : I humbly salute you ! But ugh ! my 
gorge rises at the mere recollection of you and all your 
works! what more can I say to you? Come, friend Beni, 
get up and come away: it is no pleasure to me to 
sit here any longer. 



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CHAPTER XVII. 

BaburaJh's Second Marriage. 
There had been heavy rain in the night : the roads and 
ffhclts was all muddy and wet : the sky was still overcast, 
and there were occasional distant rumblings of thunder : 
frogs croaked everywhere in loud chorus. The shopkeepers 
in the bazaar had opened out their awnings, and were now 
engaged in smoking. ' Owing to the rainy weather very . 
few people were moving about : only a few gariwans 
'passed along the road, singing at the top of their voices, 
and some coolies bearing loads on their heads, absorbed in 
their favourite melody, of which the refrain ran : — 

* Oh yes, my darling Bisakha ! 

" Your friend's just off to Mathura." 

A number of barbers lived on the west side of the 
Vaidyabati Bazar. One of them was sitting in his veran- 
dah on account of the rain, and as he sat there, every now 
and then looking up at the sky or humming softly to 
himself, his wife brought her infant child to him and said, 
* I have not yet got through all my house work : just nurse 
this child for me a bit ! the pots and pans have not yet been 
scoured, and the floor has not been rubbed down withcow- 
• . dung ; and besides, I have a lot of cooking to do. I am 
the only woman in the house : how can I possibly do all 
this myself ? — have I four hands or four feet ?" 

The barber straightway tucked his shaving instruments 
under his arm and got up to go, saying, " I have no time 
just now to nurse the child. Baburam Babu is to be 
married to-morrow : I must be off at once." His wife 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 117 

started back, saying : €t Good heavens ! what next ? what, 
that (at unwieldy old man going to marry again! Alas, 
alas ! And such an excellent housewife as he has already, 
a chaste divinity, as pare as Lakshmi ! What, he must go 
and tie a co-wife to her neck ! It is a crying shame ! Why, 
there is a really nothing that men will not do !" The bar- 
ber was dumbfounded by this eloquent outburst, but taking 
no •notice of what his wife was saying, stuck his hat of 
plaited leaves on his head and went off. 

That day was a very cloudy one, but early next morn- 
ing the sun shone brightly* The trees and plants seemed 
all to have received new life, and the joyous sounds 
of beast and bird, in field and garden, were redoubled. 
Baburam Babu, Thakchacha, Bakreswar Babu, and Ban- 
charam Babu were just getting into one of the numer- 
ous boats at the Yaidyabati Ghat, when suddenly Beni 
Babu and Becharam Babu appeared. Thakchacha pretend- 
ed not to see them, and shouted to the boatmen to let the 
boat loose, while they remonstrated : €€ But master, the 
ebb tide is still running ! how shall we be able to get 
along against it even if we punt with poles or haul with 
ropes ? " Baburam Babu received his two friends very 
. courteously, saying : " Your arrival is most opportune : 
come, let us' all bo off." Becharam Babu then remonstrated : 
"Ah Baburam, who in the world advised you to go and 
marry at your age ?* 

Baburam. — Ah Becharam, my dear friend, am I so 
old as all that ? I am a good deal younger than you are : 
besides, if you say that my hair is quite gray and that 
I have lost all my teeth, that is the case with a good 
many others even at an early age : it is not such a very 
great drawback. I have a good many things to think of ; 
one of my sons has gone to the bad, another has become 
a lunatic : one of my daughters is no more, another is as 



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118 TEE SPOILT CHILD. . 

good as a widow. If I have children by this marriage, 
my family will be preserved from extinction : I am, more- 
over, under an obligation to marry : if I do not do so the 
girl's father will lose caste, for they have no other family 
they can marry her into. 

Bakresicar. — That is indeed true: do yon suppose that 
the master has entered upon a matter of this importance 
•without taking everything into consideration? I know 
no one of a better understanding. 

Bancharam. — "We are Kulins : we must maintain the 
traditions of our family at any cost, and where wealth is 
a recommendation as well, why, there is nothing more 
to be said ! 

Becharam. — Confound your family traditions and bad 
luck to your wealth ! Alas, how many persons have com- 
bined to overthrow one house !. What do you say, friend 
Beni? 

Bern. — What shall I say? our remonstrances are but as 
idle words, as the tears of one weeping in a wilderness. 
But really this matter is a cause of great grief to me. To 
marry again when you already have one wife, is a grievous 
sin : no man who wished to maintain his virtue could ever 
do such a thing. There may be a Shastra of an opposite 
opinion, it is true ; but there is never any necessity for fol- 
lowing it : that such a Shastra is not a genuine one 
there can be no reasonable doubt, and should it be taken 
as a guide in actual practice, the bonds of marriage would 
thereby become much weakened. The feelings of the wife 
towards her husband cannot remain as before, and the feel- 
ings of the husband towards his wife will also be constantly 
changing. If *Buch a calamity as this befalls a family, it 
cannot possibly prosper or be happy. If there is such a 
rule in the Shastras, that rule should not be regarded as 
binding. Be that as it may, it is very base of Baburam 

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the Spoilt child. 119 

Baba to marry a second time, considering what a wife he 
has still living. I know nothing about the details of the 
matter : it has only just come to my ears. 

Thakchacha. — Ah, the man of books picks a hole in 
everything ! he seems to me to have nothing else to do. I 
am getting an old man now, and my beard is gray. Most 
I be always arguing with such children ? Does the learned 
Babu know how much wealth this marriage will bring to 
the family ? 

Becharam. — Mercenary wretch that you are ! do you 
recognise money only ? Have you no regard for anything 
else ? You are a low unprincipled scoundrel, that is all 
I can say. Ugh ! friend Beni, come, let us be off. 

Thakchacha. — I will have a talk with you some other 
day : we cannot waste any more time now;. You will 
have to hurry if you want to reach the house in time. 

Thereupon, Becharam caught hold of Beni Babu by the 
hand and got up, saying : " We will never, as long as we 
live, go to such a marriage ; and if there be such a thing 
as virtue in the world, may you not return in peace I 
Only ruin can attend your counsel : you who are now 
enjoying yourself at Baburam Babu's expense ! I have 
nothing more to say to you. Ugh !" 



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- , CHAPTER XVIII. 

MOZOOMDAR ON THE MARRIAGE. 

The son was just setting : gloriously beautiful was the 
western sky with its many and varied tints. On land 
and water the sun's tremulous light seemed gently smiling, 
while a soft breeze blew : everything was calm and invit- 
ing. On such an evening as this, a number of young 
men were thronging with loud and boisterous shouts down 
the main street of Vaidyabati. They knocked against the 
passers-by, smashing the things they were carrying, hust- 
ling them, throwing their baskets away and robbing them 
of their supplies of food. They sang continuously at the 
top of their voices, imitating the howls of dogs at the same 
time. On either side of the road people fled, calling for 
assistance and protection, trembling, and bewildered with 
fear. Like a storm sweeping down from all four quarters 
of the compass at once, with the roar of heavy rain, this 
whirlwind came tearing and raging past. And who are 
these mighty men? Who indeed but those models of 
virtue, Matilall and his companions? — King Nala and 
Yudhishthira over again ! They are far too great person- 
ages to pay he^d to anyone : so full of self-importance 
and of pride are their heads that they are as unsteady in 
their gait as men drunk with much wine. They have it all 
, their own way as they come swaggering along. 

Just then an old man from the village, one Mozoomdar, 
his solitary lock waving in the breeze, a stick in one hand 
and some vegetables in the other, approached them, lean- 
| | ing heavily on his stick. They all surrounded him and 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 121 

began to amuse themselves at his expense. Mozoomdar 
was a little hard of hearing, and when they said to him: 
•• Come, tell us, how is your wife ? " he replied : "I shall 
have to roast them before I can eat them." They laughed 
heartily, and. Mozoomdar would have liked to slip away, 
but there was no escape for him. The young Babus 
seized him, and making him sit on the bank of the* 
river, gave him a pipe of tobacco, saying to him : 
* Come, Mozoomdar, tell us. all about the row at the 
marriage of the master of Vaidyabati : you are bit of a 
poet : it is a pleasure to us to listen to you. If you do 
not tell us, we shall not let you off, and we shall go 
and tell your wife that you have met with an untimely 
death." Mozoomdar saw that he was in a bad way, and 
that there was no getting out of it unless he complied ; 
so, making the best of a bad job, he set his stick and 
vegetables on the ground and commenced his narrative. 

u It is a pitiable tale that I have to tell. What an ex- 
perience has it been to me, accompanying the master ! 
It was close on evening when the- boat drew up at the 
Barnagore gtot. Some women had come to the river- 
side to draw water : as soon as they saw the master, they 
veiled their faces slightly and began to chatter hard to each 
other, laughing quietly the while. *Ha what a lovely 
bridegroom !' they cried, *what a sweet champac flower 
for a lucky girl to fondle in her braided hair!' Said 
one of them: *01d or young, whichever he may be, the 
girl will have no difficulty in seeing him with her eyes : 
that of itself is something. May the wretched lot that 
has befallen me befal no one else : married at the age of 
six, I have never even set eyes on my husband. I have 
heard that he has married some fifty wives, and is 
over eighty years of age ; and though he is such a wretched 
tottering old man, he never makes any objection to marry 



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122 . THE SPOILT CHILD. 

if he is only well paid for it. Sorely some great crimes 
must have been committed in former births, or eke 
daughters would never be born into a Kulin's family !* 
'My dear,' said another woman to her, * you have finished 
drawing water now : come along, you ought not to gossip 
like this when you come to the riverside. Why, your 
husband is alive, whereas the man I was married to was 
actually dying, with his feet in the Ganges, when the 
ceremony of marriage was performed ! What possible good 
will it do to discuss the religious duties of Kulin Brahmans ? 
The secrets of the heart are best kept locked up in the 
breast.' " 

" It grieved me to listen to the talk of the women, and 
the words of Beni Babu, which he spoke at the time 
of our departure, recurred to my mind. Then on landing 
at the Barnagore ghclt, there was a good deal of trouble 
in trying to get a palki, but not a single bearer was to be 
had, and the time for the ceremony was fast slipping away. 
We had to proceed as best we could. After a good deal of 
floundering about in the mud, we reached the house of the 
bride's father. How can I describe to you the figure that the 
master presented after he had tumbled down in the road? 
we had only to put him upon an ox, for him to have ap- 
peared a veritable Mahadeva, and we might have present- 
ed Thakchacha and Bakreswar as Nandi and Bhringi in 
attendance upon him. I had heard rumours that there 
would be a large distribution of presents, but on getting 
up to the great hall, I saw that there was to be nothing of 
the s<$rt:'it was all a delusion, and another illustration of the 
old proverb, — " Sand has fallen into the goor" Thakchacha, 
seeing his hopes destroyed, was glaring around him every- 
where,, and strutting insolently about. I could not help 
smiling to myself, but I thought it would be safer not to 
express my real sentiments. The bridegroom had mean- 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 123 

while withdrawn for the ceremonies performed by the 
women of the family. The women, old and young, all sur- 
rounded him, their ornaments jingling as they moved 
about They were horrified when they saw the bride- 
groom. During the performance of the ceremony, when 
bride and bridegroom gaze into each other's eyes, he was 
obliged to put his spectacles on : the women all burst out 
laughing and began to make fun of him. He flew into a 
passion and called out, *Thakchacha! Thakchacha!' Thak- 
chacha was just on the point of running into the women's 
apartments, when the people belonging to the party of 
the bride's father got him on the ground. Bancharam Babu 
was pugnacious, and got well thrashed. Bakreswar Babu 
was hustled about so that he resembled a pigeon with 
swollen neck. When I saw the disturbance, I left the 
bridegroom's party and joined that of the bride. What 
became of everybody in the end I cannot say, but Thak- 
chacha had to return home in a dooly. You all know the 
saying — ** In avarice is sin, and in sin death." Now listen 
to the poetry I have composed: — 

Any counsel his parasite pours in his ears, 

Babnram, the old dotard, as gospel reveres. 

Still dreaming of riches by day and by night, 

No thought ever stirs him of wrong or of right. 
- In saving and getting he squanders his life, 
. And lately it struck iiim, " I'll marry a wife I " 

•* Fie ! you're old," cry his friends, "and what can you noed more ? 

« You've your wife and your children, with grandsons in store t " 

But their kindly advice for themselves they may keep " 

At a trifle like bigamy, fortunes go cheap ! 

So all in a flurry he orders a boat, 

And with kinsmen and servants is shortly afloat. 

Good Beni's remonstrance he haughtily spurns, 

Who home to his rice unrewarded returns. 

. Becharam is disgusted, and toddles away : - > 

"Thakchacha, you scoundrel ! " was all he could say. 

But the Barnagore women such volleys of jeers 

Exchange through their chudders where'er he appears, 



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124 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

l O That the bridegroom gets nervous, and asks in affright, 

" Can I really be such a ridiculous sight ? 
"Is some further expenditure needed, alas ? " 
And anxiously studies his face in the glass. 
Reassured of his beauty, and freed from alarm 
He swaggers along, upon Thakchacha's arm. 
But scarce is he rid of that terrible doubt, 
When in mud like a pumpkin he's tumbling about ; 
And bis friends in the mire as they flounder half-dead, 
8ee the Halls, not of Hymen but Pluto, ahead. 
And indeed it turns out, when he's taken the yoke, 
' That his vision connubial has vanished in smoke ; 
For the cluster of pearls he was hoping to claim, 
And the gold and the silver, were nought but a name t 
Thakchacha, outwitted, with furious scowl 
Glares round him, scarce able to stifle a howl. 
And oh, when its time for the bridegroom to enter 
The ladies' domain, of what mirth he's the centre ! 
. Every bangle a-jangle, around him they flutter, 

And flout him and scout him till scarce he can stutter. 
* "talis pot-bellied dotard to wed with a baby ! 
\), " This bloated old octogenarian gaby I 

V . ** With a head like a gourd, not a tooth to his gum ! 

•" Tis an overgrown ogre in spectacles come ! 
M And the child, the sweet blossom, our jewel so rare ! 
" Ah, shame on the Eulins, such deeds who can dare 1 " 
While, shrinking and blinking and all of a shiver, 
The bridegroom, a captive whom none will deliver, 
Cries feebly as one in the direst of pain, 
" To the rescue, Thakchacha 1 " again and again. 
That hero leaps in at the piteous sound, 
. But is seized by the dnrwans and hurled to the ground. 
The remains of his beard he may rescue to-day, 
But a terrible hiding's his share of the prey. 
' The guests, who consider it risky to stay, 
Have other engagements, and hasten away. 
Tour servant, the tumult increasing still more, 
. Not without some temerity, made for the door, 
And retired, with a fortitude second to none. 
All hail to you, masters ! my story is done. 



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CHAPTER XIX. 
Death of Baburam Babu. 

Having just come in from his morning walk, Beni Babu 
was sitting in his garden-house. He was gazing about 
him, and had just caught up a refrain of Ram Prasad's 

" Swift to its goal life ebbs away." 
—when suddenly from a bower of creepers to the west 
of him, he heard a voice : "Ha ! friend Betii ! True indeed 
it is that ' swift to its goal life ebbs away.' " Starting up 
from his seat, Beni Babu saw Becharam Babu of Bow 
Bazar hurrying towards him, and going to meet him, 
said : <c Becharam, my dear friend, what has happened ? " 
Becharam Babu replied : t€ Throw your shawl over your 
shoulders and come with me at once : Baburam Babu is 
very ill : you must see him just once." 

The two friends soon reached Vaidyabati, and saw that 
Baburam Babu had a very severe attack of fever : his 
temperature was very high, and he was suffering from 
intense thirst, tossing restlessly about on his bed. Some 
slices of cucumber and a cloth steeped in rose-water lay 
beside him, but he could retain no nourishment. The 
villagers all thronged around, loudly discussing the nature 
of his illness : one of them was saying : " Our pulse is the 
pulse of vegetarians and fish-eaters : nothing but harm can 
arise from the use of leeches, purgatives,and blisters. The 
best kind of treatment for us is that of the old village 
doctor ; and then, if no relief is obtained, and grave 
symptoms occur, a doctor using the English methods might 
be called in." Another remarked : " It would be a good 



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126 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

thing to have the opinion of a Mahomedan hakim : they 
often effect wonderful cures, and their drugs are all as 
pleasant to take as that delicious sweetmeat the mohan- 
bhog" Another said : u You may say what you will, 
but doctors who treat on English methods give instan- 
taneous relief in all such cases of sickness, as if by the 
repetition of a mantra : a cure will be very difficult 
without proper medical treatment." The sick man kept 
repeatedly asking for water. Brojonath Raya, the old 
kabiraj, who was sitting by him at the time, said : "The 
case is a very serious one : it is not a good thing to be 
constantly giving him water : we must give him a little 
of the juice of the bael. "We are none of us his ene- 
mies, I should imagine, that we should be giving him 
just now as much water as he wants." All this wrangling 
was going on by Baburam Babu's bedside. The next 
room was filled with a number of pandits, who, of course, 
regarded as of chief importance the performance of 
sacrifices to Shiva, the worship of the sun, the offering of a 
million of hibiscus flowers at Kali's shrine at Kalighat, and 
all such religious ceremonials. Beni Babu had been stand- 
ing listening to the discussion going on round Baburam 
Babu, but everybody was talking at once and nobody 
listening to anybody else. " Many sages many dpinions V 
says the old proverb, and each man thought his words 
as infallible as the mystic mantra possessed by Druva. 
Though Beni Babu attempted once or twice to express his 
own opinion, his words were lost almost before he had 
opened his lips, and being unable to get a word in edgewise, 
he took Becharam Babu outside with hira. 

Just then Thakchacha approached them, limping painfully 
along : he was exceedingly anxious on account of Babu- 
ram Babu's illness, reflecting that all his chances of gain 
had slipped away. Beni Babu, seeing him, said : * * Thak- 



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TUB SPOILT CHILD. 127 

chacha, what is the matter with your leg ? " Becharam 
burst in with the remark : " What, my friend, have you 
never heard of the affair of Barnagore ? The pain he is 
suffering is only the punishment for his evil advice : have 
you forgotten what I said in the boat ? " Thakchacha tried 
to slip away when he heard this, but Beni Babu caught 
Mm by the arm and said : u Never mind that now ! is 
anything being devised for the recovery of the master ? 
There is great confusion in the house." Thakchacha 
replied : " When the fever commenced, I took Ekramaddi 
the hakim with me : by the administration of purgatives 
and other drugs he reduced the fever, and allowed his 
' patient to eat spiced rice ; but the fever returned again 
the other day, and since then Brojonath the iabiraj has 
been looking after the case. The fever seems to me to 
be steadily increasing : I cannot imagine what to do." 
Beni Babu said : "Thakchacha, do not be angry at what 
I am going to say : you should have sent us news of this 
before. However, that cannot be helped now : we must 
call in a skilled English doctor at once." 

At this moment, Ramlall and Barada Prasad Babu 
approached. Randall's face was quite worn from night- 
watching, from the labour and toil of nursing, and from I 
anxiety of mind ; his daily anxiety was to devise means j 
for restoring his father to convalescence and health. See- | 
ing Beni Babu he said to him : u Sir, I am in grievous I 
trouble: with all this confusion in the house no good ] 
advice is to be had from any one. Barada Babu coines J 
every morning and evening to look after my father, but J 
none of the people here will allow me to carry out his « 
instructions. Tour arrival is most opportune : please adopt ! 
any steps you think necessary." I 
* Becharam Babu gazed steadily at Barada Babu for some | 
time, and then with tears in his eyes caught hold of l 



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128 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

his hand and cried : "Ah, Barada J&bu, why is it that 
everybody does you reverence, except on account of the 
many good qualities you possess ? Why, it was Thakchacha 
here who advised Baburam Babu to have that charge of 
illegal confinement and assault brought against you, and all 
kinds of violence and knavery have been practised on you 
without rhyme or reason, at their instigation ; and yet, 
when Thakchacha fell sick, you cured him, treating him and 
even nursing him yourself, and now too, when Baburam is 
ill, you spare no effort to give good advice, and to look 
after his welfare. Now generally speaking, if one man but 
speaks harshly against another, enmity at once springs 
up between them, and though a thousand apologies may 
be made, the feeling does not pass away ; but though you 
have been grievously insulted and injured, you have no 
difficulty in forgetting the insult and injuries you have 
suffered. No feeling towards another but brotherly kind- 
ness arises in your mind. Ah, Barada Babu, many may talk 
of virtue, but never have I found any possessing such as 
you possess. Men are naturally base and corrupt ; how 
then can they judge of your qualities ? But as day and 
night are true, your qualities will be judged above." 

Somewhat vexed by these remarks of BecharamBabu, 
Barada Babu bowed his head and said humbly : "Sir, pray 
do not address me like this. I am but a very insignificant 
person: what is my knowledge or what my virtue after all ? " 

" We had better postpone this conversation" Beni Babu 
said, " teijjne now what to devise for the master's illness." 

Barada Babu replied :," If you gentlemen think the idea 
a good one, I can go to Calcutta and bring a doctor back 
with me by the evening : no further confidence, I think, 
should be placed in Brojonath Baya." 

Premnarayan Mo?oomdar, who was standing near, re- 
marked : " Doctors do not properly understand the pulse, 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 129 

and they let their patients die in their houses. We ought 
not to di«mi& the kabiraj altogether : on the contrary, let 
the kabiraj and the doctor each take up a special feature 
of the case.** 

44 We can take that matter into consideration afterwards" 
Beni Bahu said, "go now, Barada Babu, and fetch a doctor." 

Barada Babu started off for Calcutta at once, without 
taking either his bath or his food, though they all remons- 
trated : " Sir, you have the whole day before you, take a 
mouthful of food before you start." He only replied: "If 
I stop to do that there will be delay, and all my trouble 
may go for nought." 

Baburam Babu, as he lay on his bed, kept asking where 
Matilall was, but it was hard to get a glimpse of even 
the ' top tuft of his hair : he was always out on picnics 
with his boon companions, and paid no heed to his father's 
illness. Beni Babu observing this conduct sent a 
servant out to Matilall in the garden, but he only sent 
back some feigned excuse ; he had a very bad headache, 
and would come home later on. As the fever left Baburam 
TBabu about two o'clock in the afternoon, his pulse became 
exceedingly weak : the kabiraj examining it, said: "The 
master must be removed from the house at once. He is 
a man of long experience, an old man, and a man highly 
respected ; and we ought certainly to ensure that his end 
be a happy one." On hearing this the whole house- 
hold broke out into loud lamentations, and all his kiqsmen 
and neighbours assisted in carrying him into the great hall 
of the house. Just then Barada Babu arrived with the 
English doctor. The latter, observing the state of his 
pulse, remarked. " You have called me in at' the last 
moment : how can a doctor possibly be of any use if you 
only summon him just before taking a patient to the 
Ganges ?" With these words he departed. 

o, so 9 



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130 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

All the inhabitants of Vaidyabati stood round Baburam 
Babu, each asking some question or other, such as : 
" Honoured sir, can you recognise me? w "Come, sir, say 
who lam?" Beni Babu remonstrated : "Please do not Tex 
the sick man in this way ? What is the good of all this 

' questioning ? " The officiating priests had now completed 
their sacrifices, and approached with the sacred flowers of 
blessing ; T>ut they saw at once that their ceremonial had all 
been in vain. Seeing that Baburam Babu's breathing was 
becoming heavier, they all took him to the Vaidyabati 
Ghat. After tasting of the Ganges water and breathing the 
fresher air, he revived a little : the crowd too had dimin- 
ished in numbers. Bamlall sat beside his father while 
Barada Prasad Babu came and stood in front of him. 
After a short pause, the latter said very quietly : " Pray 
meditate for this once with all your mind upon the Su- 
preme God : without His favour we are utterly helpless." 
Baburam Babu hearing these words, gazed intently for 
a few seconds at Barada Prasad Babu, and began to 
shed tears. Ramlall wiped away his tears and gave 
him a few drops , of milk to drink. Baburam Babu then 
grew more composed and said in a low tone: "Ah, my 
friend Barada Babu, I now know that I have no 
other friend in the world but you I Through the evil 
counsel of a certain individual, I have committed many 
and grievous crimes : these are continually recurring to 
my memory, and my soul seems to be on fire. I am a 
grievous sinner: how shall I make answer for it? Can 

• you possibly Jorgiye me?" As he uttered these words 
Baburam Babu took hold of the hand of Barada Babu, 
and closed his eyes. His friends and neighbours who were 
near began repeating the name of God. Thus, in full 
possession of his faculties Baburam Babu passed away. 



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. CHAPTER XX. 

The Shraddha Ceremony. 
On the death of his father, Matilall succeeded to the 
guddee, and became the head of the house. His former 
companions never left his side for a moment, and he 
grew as proud as a turkey-cock, rejoicing in the thought 
chat at last after so long a time he might give his ex- 
travagance its full bent. When Matilall displayed a little 
grief on his father's account, his companions said to him : 
" Why are you so depressed ? who expects to live for 
ever with his father and mother? You are now lord and 
master." A fool's grief is a mere empty name. How can 
true sorrow possibly affect the mind of the man who has 
never given any happiness to those whom he should hold 
most sacred — his father and his mother — but on the contrary 
v untold pain and misery ? The feeling, if it does arise, passes 
away like a shadow, and the natural consequence is that such 
a man can never have any veneration for the memory of 
his father, and his mind is never inclined to do anything 
to keep him in remembrance. Matilall's eager desire to 
know the extent of the property which his father had left, 
very soon overshadowed his grief. Acting on the advice 
of his companions, he put double locks on the house-door 
and on the money-chest, and became more easy in his 
mind when he had done so. He was in a perpetual state 
of alarm lest his money should somehow or other fall into 
the hands of his mother, stepmother, brother or sister, 
and be altogether lost to him in consequence. His com- 
panions were continually saying to him: "Money is a 



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132 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

very important thing, sir ! Where it is in question, no 
confidence is to be reposed even in one's own father. 
"Now there is your younger brother always carrying a 
big bag of virtue about with him wherever he goes, and 
with truth always on his tongue ; yet even his preceptor 
never shows indulgence to anyone, but whenever he 
has the opportunity enforces his full claims. We have 
seen a good many shams of that kind. Anyhow, Barada 
Babu must know something of witchcraft : he must have 
lived some time at Kamrup. How otherwise is it pos- 
sible to account for the great influence he had over Babu- 
ram Babu at the time of his death ? " 

Not very long after this conversation, Matilall proceed- 
ed to visit his relatives and kinsmen, to signify his acces- 
sion to his new position as master of the house. Busy- 
bodies are at all times to be found, ready to interfere in 
other people's concerns. Like the twists and turns of the 
jelabhi sweetmeat, their conversation touches on a variety 
of topics, but never goes straight to the point : like air it 
wanders where it will, and it is as difficult to get hold of, 
for it will generally be found on close examination to have 
& double meaning. Some of those he visited said : "The 
master was a most worthy person : had it not been for his 
great store of merit, he could not have had the children 
he 'did. His death too, — why, it was characteristic of the 
man t it was marvellous I Ah, sir, all this time you 
have been under the shelter of a mountain, shielded and 
protected !- You will now have your own discretion to de- 
pend upon : the family all look to you : you have the 
whole number of religious festivals to keep up : you have, 
moreover, to perpetuate the name of your father and your 
grandfather. First, of course you must perform the shrad- 
dba with duo regard to your property : you need not in 
this matter dance to the tune of the world's opinion. Why 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 133 

Bam Chandra himself offered a funeral cake of sand to 
his father*T shade, and if you have to abridge your ex- 
penditure in this respect, it is idle to mourn over that : 
but to do nothing at all is not good. Ah, sir, you must 
know that your father's name resounds far and wide ! 
by virtue of his name the tiger and the cow drink at the 
samQ pool ! can his shraddha then be like the shraddha of 
a poor and insignificant man? Even those encumbered 
with debt must avoid the world's reproach." Matilall 
could not comprehend the drift of all this talk. These 
men, while nominally manifesting their bosom friendship 
as kinsmen for a kinsman, were really in their inmost 
hearts eager to have a gorgeous shraddha ceremony, and 
themselves to get the management of it, so that they 
might gain importance thereby ; but they would never give 
a plain answer to a plain question. One of them said : 
" It will never do not to have the shorash, with the usual 
display of silver and other presents/* Another remarked : 
** You will find it very hard to keep the world's respect, if 
you do not have a dan-sagar, with costly presents of 
every kind for all comers." Another said : " It will be 
a very poor sort of shraddha, if there is no dampati-baran 
for poor Brahmans." And another said: "It will be a 
great disgrace if pandits are not invited to attend, and a 
distribution of alms not made to the poor." There was 
a gjood deal of wrangling over the affair. " Who wants 
your advice?"— "Who told you to argue?"— "Who 
listens to your conclusions?" — "Nobody respects you in 
thq village : it is only in your own' opinion that you 
are the head man," such remarks were freely bandied 
about from one to the other. Each of those present 
indeed was in his own estimation the most important 
man there, and each man thought what he had to say 
the conclusion of the whole matter. 



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134 THE SPOILT CHILD 

Three days after this discussion, Beni Babu, Becharam 
Babu, Bancharam Babu, and Bakreswar Babu, arrived 
at Matilall's house. Thakchacha was sitting near Matilall* 
as melancholy and spiritless as a snake with its jewelled 
crest lost : with bead-rosary in his hand and with tremb- 
ling lips, he was muttering his prayers. His attention was 
not directed to the brisk conversation that was going on 
around him : his eyes were rolling about, their glance 
chiefly directed at the wall. When he saw Beni Babu and 
the others, he rose hurriedly and saluted them. Such humi- 
lity on Thakchacha's part had never been witnessed before, 
but the old proverb has it : — " With the venom, goes the 
glamour." 

Beni Babu took hold of Thakchacha's hand, and said to 
him : t( Why, what are you doing ? How is it that you, 
a venerable old Mouivi as you are, honour us like this ? " 

Bancharam Babu said : "We must waste no more 
time : our leisure is very limited. Nothing is as yet 
arranged ; come, tell us what should be done." 

Becharam. — Baburam's affairs are in great confusion : 
some of the property will have to be sold to clear off 
debts. It would not be right to celebrate the shmddha 
on a magnificent scale and incur more debt by so doing. 

Bancharam. — What is this I hear ? Surely the very first 
requisite is to avoid the censure of the world : the property 
may be looked after later on. Shall honour and reputation 
be allowed to float away on the waters of this flood ? 

Becharam. — That is very bad advice, and I will never 
assent to it myself. How now, friend Beni, what do you say ? 
Beni.- — To incur debt again in any case where there is 
already a good deal, and where it is doubtful whether 
it can be cleared off even by a sale of property, is really a 
species of theft ; for how can the new debt incurred be 
cleared off? 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 135 

Bancharam. — Bah ! that is only an English idea. As a 
matter of fact the rich always live on credit : they incur 
debts here only to pay them off there. A respectable 
man like you should not be a marplot; or put obstacles 
in the way of a good action. I have no property to give 
•way myself, but if any one else is prepared to make 
presents to all the pandits,, am I bound to offer any 
opposition? We all of us have pandits more or less 
dependent upon us, and they will all want to receive 
invitations. It is only natural they should : they must 
five. 

Bakreswar. — Very well said, sir 1 There is an old saying : 
m Death before dishonour." 

Becharam. — Baburam Babu's family are in the centre 
of a confla<rr»tion : as far as I can see they will soon be 
utterly ruined. We must try and find a remedy to prevent 
this. A curse on this method of purchasing renown at the 
expense of debt I I do not consider Brahman followers to 
have such a claim upon me that I should sacrifice others 
to fill their maws : a pretty business that would be ! Come, 
my friend Beni, let us be off. 

As soon as Beni Babu and Becharam Babu had gone, 
Bancharam said t " A good riddance ! these two gentle- 
men understand nothing about the matter : they only 
talk. , How refreshing it is to speak with a man of real 
intelligence. Thakehacha, come and sit by me : what is 
your opinion in this matter ?" 

. " It is a great pleasure to me also," Thakehacha replied, 
"to have a talk with a man like you : those two gentle- 
men are daft : I am afraid to go near them. All that 
you have said is very true : a man's life is practically 
thrown away if his honour and power are lost. You and 
I will look well after the particulars and get rid of all the 
difficulties. Is there any cause for alarm then ?" 



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il 



136 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

Matilall was naturally very extravagant, and fond of 
display : he had no knowledge of money matters at 
all, and knew nothing of business. He put full con- 
fidence in Bancharam and Thakchacha : for apart from 
the fact that they were always frequenting the courts 
and had the law at their fingers' ends, they had managed 
to win an influence over him, exactly hitting off his 
wishes by their clever ingenuity. 

** Do you undertake the entire management of this busi- 
ness," sdid he, "I will sign my name to anything you 
require. " 

" Let me have the master's will out of the box," Bancha- 
ram Babu said. " Under the terms of the will, you are 
the only heir : your brother is a lunatic, consequently 
his name has been omitted. If you take the will and 
hand it into court, you will have letters of administra- 
tion granted you, and the property may then be mort- 
gaged, or sold upon your signature only." Matilall at 
once opened the box, and took the will out. 

"When Bancharam had done all that was necessary in the 
courts, he made arrangements with a money-lender, and re- 
turned jo the Vaidyabati house with the papers and the 
money. Matilall signed the papers the moment he caught 
sight of the money, and putting his hands on the bag of 
rupees was on the point of placing it in the box, when 
Bancharam and Thakchacka said to him, " Ah, sir I if 
the money remains with you, it will soon be all spent : it 
will be safer, we think, in our charge. Ton are so good- 
natured you know, so tender-hearted, that you cannot deny 
anything even to a look : we, knowing people better, 
will be able to drive all suppliants away." . 

Matilall thought to himself : " This is very excellent ad- 
vice : besides, how am I to get any money to spend after 



• - , -^-*^— lz&913y * 



THE SPOILT CHILD. 137 

the skraddha f I have no father now to get money from 
by a mere look." So he agreed to their proposal. 

Great were the preparations for the shraddha ceremony 
of Baburam Babu. "What with the noise of arranging the 
shorash and the silver presents to be given to the pandits, 
the smell of the sweetmeats, the buzzing of hornets, the 
pungent smoke from wet wood, and the continual stream of 
things arriving for use on the occasion, the whole house 
was full of confusion and bustle. Brahmans of the 
poorer classes, whether connected with family worship, or 
with shop or bazar accounts, all wearing silk clothes, and 
with Ganges clay on their foreheads, were continually 
crowding in for invitations to the shraddha ceremony. Of 
theTarkavagishas, Vidyaratnas, Nyayalankars, Bachaspatis, 
and Vidyasagars, all learned and celebrated pandits, there 
was no end. Sages and gurus were continually arriv- 
ing. It was like the festival of the village leather-seller, 
on the death of a cow. 

The day of the ceremony arrived. Pandits from all 
parts of the country had come for the assembly usual 
on such occasions, and seated near them were their re- 
latives, kinsmen and friends. Before them were arranged 
presents of every description and for all comers ; horses, 
pallets, brass dishes, broadcloth, oil vessels, and hard cash. 
On one side of them the processional singing was in pro- 
gress, and in the midst of the singers was Becharam Babn 
enthusiastically absorbed in the music. Outside the house 
were collected together Brahmans of lesser degree, pedi- 
gree reciters, mendicants, sannyasis and beggars. Thak- 
chacha, not having sufficient effrontery to sit down in the 
assembly, was roaming about in the crowd. 

•The venerable Pandits were taking snuff and conversing 
together on subjects connected with the shastras. One of 
their characteristics is the difficulty they find in carrying on 



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SPOILT CHILD. 



a discussion at their great meetings calmly and composedly : 
some element of discord is always sure to arise. One of the 
pandits introduced a portion of the Nyaya shastras for dis- 
cussion : — " Smoke is the effect of fire, and this is a dif- 
ferent substance from a water-jar." A k pandit from Orissa 
thereupon remarked, " The water-jar is itself distinct 
from a mountain." " What is this, my friend, that you are 
saying ?" asked a pandit from Kashigoya, " you surely 
have not paid proper attention to the sentence : he who 
regards a water-jar, clothes, and a mountain as the same as 
smoke from a fire, simply murders the famous Siromani." 
A pandit from Eastern Bengal said : " Smoke is an entirely 
different substance from a water-jar : smoke is the effect of 
fire : how then can there be smoke when there is no fire P* 
And so the dispute went on, and at last, from simply glar- 
ing at each other, they got to a hand-to-hand Icrimmage. 
Thakchacha thought matters were looking serious and 
that he had better calm things down before they went any 
further ; so going quietly up to them, he said : " I say, 
gentlemen, why are you making such minute enquiries 
about such trifles as a water-pot or a lamp ? I will make you 
a much more valuable present ; I will give you two water- 
pots apiece," A very sharp Brahman amongst the pandits 
at once got up and said, " Who are you, you low 
fellow, ? An infidel outcast present at the shraddha of 
a Hindu ? This is not the shraddha of a she-ghost, that 
an apparition like you should be the superintendent of it." 
As he said this, everybody present began abusing Thak- 
chacha, thumping him with their fists, pushing him about 
and beating him with sticks. Thereupon Bancharam Babu 
hurried up and said : " If you make a disturbance and 
interfere with the shraddha in this way, I will know the 
reason why : I will get a summons out against you at once 
from the High Court. I am not a man to be trifled with 



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THE SrOILT CIIILD. 13D 

I can tell you." Bakreswar Babu too had his say. " That 
is right : besides, the boy who b performing the shraddlia 
is no common boy, ho is the very model of a boy." Becha- 
ramBaba observed: u It is becoming a matter of notoriety 
that nothing ever goes right where Thakchacha and 
Bancharam have the management. Ugh ! Ugh." The dis- 
turbance did not cease. The rowdy vagrants who were 
present, and others, kept adding to the confusion, and as 
blows from the canes continually rained on them, they 
shouted out, " A fine shraddha indeed yon have cele- 
brated." At length all the respectable gentlemen present, 
seeing the state of affairs, exclaimed : — 

M Friends t Call this a thraddha ? Whose shraddha I pray? 
"Til death to a Brahman to toil without pay." 

" Come, we had better slip away at once: why should we 
run any more risk when there is nothing to be gained by 
it?" . 



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CHAPTER XXI. 
Matilall on the Guddee. 
People did not think much of Baburam Babu's shraddha. 
The rain, as the proverb has it, was out of all proportion 
to the thunder. Oil fell on a good many heads that were 
oiled already, while heads that were dry and destitute of 
oil only got cracked. Their disputation was all the profit 
that the pandits got. The uneducated city Brahmanshad 
it all their own way. The harsh discipline of all kinds to 
which pandits subject themselves, creates in them a stub- 
bornness of nature : they follow their own opinions and 
dp not agree with all and everything they find. The 
Brahmans of a lower order, habitues of the city, suit their 
conversation to the minds of the Babus : in the words of 
the proverb, they adapt their strokes to the quality of the 
wood. If it suits them to be Gosains, Gosains they can 
be.; and the characters they can assume are as varied as 
the ingredients of a curry mixture ; is it surprising then 
that they generally get the best of everything ? The 
managers of the shraddha had taken every precaution to 
fill their own pockets : they Were keen chiefly on their 
own share of the gifts : what did it matter to them whether 
the pandits or the poor received anything worth mention- 
ing ? There was a great flourish of trumpets over things 
that would be matter of public observation and could not be 
avoided, but equal consideration was not shown throughout. 
Management such as that is a mere playing to the gallery. ( 

The stir which the shraddha had caused gradually died 
away. 



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. THE SPOILT CHILD. 141 

Bancharam and Thakchacha took to flattering Matilall 
to an extraordinary extent, and Matilall, being of a very 
weak nature, was enthralled by their seductive language, 
and thought that he had no other friends on earth like 
them. With a view to increasing his importance they one 
day said to him : — " Sir, you are now -master : it behoves 
you to take your seat on the guddee of the master now 
in heaven : how otherwise will his dignity be maintained ? " 
Matilall was highly delighted at the idea. As a child he 
had heard bits of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, and so 
it occurred to him that he would be seated on the guddee 
with the same pomp and circumstance with which Yudhish- 
thira and Ram Chandra were anointed to the throne of 
their ancestors. Bancharam and Thakchacha saw that Mati- 
lalTs face shone again with delight at the suggestion they 
had made, so the next day they settled on a date for the 
ceremony, and calling together all his kinsmen and friends, . 
seated Matilall upon his father's guddee. In the village the 
report got about that Matilall had attained to this honour : 
The news soon spread : it was told in the market-place, in 
the bazar, at the ghat, and in the fields. A choleric old 
Brahman, when he heard it remarked, "Oh, he has 
attained the guddee, has he ? What a fine expression ! And 
whose guddee, pray ? That of the great Jagat Sett, 
or of Devi Dass Balmukunda ?" 

When a man of sound sense attains to a high position 
or to gr§at wealth, he is not liable to be lightly swayed 
hither and thither ; whereas a man who lacks solidity 
of character, should he attain to a higher position than he 
is accustomed to, is as unstable as the waters of a flood. 
And so it proved with Matilall. Day and night, unceasing 
as a lorrent, arose the hubbub of boisterous amusement. 
His companions did not diminish ; on the contrary, their 
number daily increased, rapidly as the fabulous Baliabij. 



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Mi THE SPOILT CHILD. . 

Was there anything surprising in this ? "When rice is 
scattered there is no lack of crows, and a whole army of 
lints will come together at the scent of molasses. 

Bakreswar Baba visited Matilall one day to try and 
get something out of him, and used all his arts to fasci- 
nate Matilall by his talk. But Matilall had been 
acquainted from his boyhood with Bakreswar's crafty' 
cajolery, and so he gave him this answer : — " Sir, you 
have destroyed all my chances in the next world by the 
partiality and favour you showed me in the past. I never 
failed to give you enough presents when I was a boy : 
why do you keep bothering me now ? " Bakreswar went 
away with his head bent low, muttering to himself. 
Matilall was now as one inebriated with pleasure : though 
Bancharam and Thakchacha went occasionally to see him, 
he would have little to do with them in the way of busi- 
ness. Owing to the power-of-attorney he had given them, 
they had entire command over everything, and now and 
again they made the Babu a liberal advance, but nothing 
in the way of detailed accounts of expenditure was forth- 
coming from them. • 

As for the rest of his family, he never took the slightest 
notice of them : he never even troubled himself to enquire 
where they were or where they w r ent. The ladies endured 
much hardship on this account, but Matilall by his riotous 
living had become so lost to all sense of shame that he 
paid no heed to the reports that reached him on the 
subject. To have to mourn for a husband is the greatest 
affliction that a faithful wife is called on to endure. It 
is some alleviation to her in her trouble, if she have good 
children ; but if on the contrary they disappoint her it 
adds intensity to the bitterness of her grief, as melted 
butter thrown upon fire. Matilail's evil behaviour was a 
terrible grief to his mother, but she never spoke openly of it. 



THE SPOILT CHILD. 143 

one day, however after long deliberation, she approached 
him and said: — "My child, what was to be my lot, that 
has been : now, for the few remaining days that I have to 
live, let me not have to listen to this evil report of you. I 
cannot lend my ears to people's abuse of you. Have some 
little regard for your younger brother, your elder sister, 
and your stepmother : they are not getting half enough to 
eat. Ah, my child, I ask nothing for myself : I lay no 
farther burden upon you." To these words of his mother, 
Matilall, his eyes inflamed with passion, replied : '• What ? 
•will you be always chattering and abusing me ? Do you not 
know that I am now master in my own house ? What is this 
evil report about me?" As he said this, he struct his 
mother a blow on the face and pushed her down. She got 
up from the ground after a short interval, and wiping away 
her tears with the border of her saree, said to her son : " Ah, 
my son ! I never heard of children beating their mothers 
before, but it has been my destiny for this to happen to me. 
I have nothing further to say : I only pray that all may be 
well with you." Next day, without saying a word to any 
one, his mother left the house with her daughter. 

Since the death of his father, Randall had made many 
efforts to be on good terms with his brother, but had had 
to suffer many indignities. Matilall was in constant anxiety 
lest he should have to give up the half of the property, 
and so be unable to continue bis role of the grandee ; and 
as life would be but a sorry farce if he had to give up that 
v .role, he must, he considered, take the necessary steps to 
mulct his brother of his share. Having settled on this 
plan, by the advice of course of Bancharam and Thak- 
chacha, he forbade Randall the house. Thus shut out from 
the home of his fathers, Ramlall, after long deliberation, 
^ without having had an interview with his mother, sister, 
or any one, proceeded to another part of the country. 



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. CHAPTER XXII. 
Matilall iy Business. 
Matilall saw that his mother, his brother, and his sister, 
had now all gone from the house. " A good riddance ! " 
thought he : his path was at length cleared of thorns ; all 
bother was at an end. This had come about by a slight 
display of passion on his part, — * Dhananjoyas got rid of by a 
blow ! ' True it was, a single blow had sufficed to get rid 
of them all, but his resources were now exhausted. What 
was to be done? How could he go on living in such 
style ? The small retail shopkeepers would not be put off 
with excuses any more, and no one would supply him 
with anything on credit: just too as the great bathing 
festival of the Snan Jatra was coming off. The expenses 
of engaging a budgerow had to be provided : earnest 
money would have to be advanced to the ftautch girls : 
sweetmeats must be ordered : tobacco, ganja, and liquor 
all had to be procured for the occasion ; and for these 
preliminary arrangements he had no money at his disposal. 
In such anxious thoughts Matilall was wrapped when 
Bancharam and Thakchacha arrived. After exchanging a 
few remarks, they said to Matilall : " Well, sir ! why this 
melancholy ? It makes us quite sad to see it. At your 
age you should be always lively and cheerful. Why this 
anxiety ? Fie ! be merry." Affected almost to tears by 
this sweet language, Matilall told them, all that was in 
his mind. Bancharam said : " Why be so anxious on that 
account ? Are we mere grass-cutters that we cannot help ( 
you out of a difficulty ? What brought us to see you to- 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 14* 

day was a splendid idea that has occurred to us. Within a 
year you will have paid off all yonr liabilities, and be able 
to enjoy yourself at your leisure, and your sons and your 
grandsons in their turn will be able to play the rich man 
on a grand scale. Is it not written in the shastras ?— 

* Lakshmi, fair godddess, 
' Of commerce U queen/ 

There is a fortune to be made in trade : by it people spring 
to sudden affluence. Why, look at the numbers of people 
1 have known, — many of them of very low origin and 
blessed with no brains to speak of, — who have sprang to 
sudden importance by trade ! It makes me quite envious 
to see them. What troubles me is that we are wasting 
all our energies with only one string to our bow. This is 
not as it should be ! ' Ghandi Charan gathers cow-dung 
while Ram is riding on horseback.' " 

MatilalL — Ah, a brilliant notion ! I am daily in need of 
money. Does commerce flourish in the bazar, or does it 
grow in an office ? Is it merely the buying and selling 
that goes on in a sweetmeat-maker's shop ? My business 
•will lack all importance unless I am to be the chief agent 
of some English merchant. 

Bancharam. — You need only sit at home on the guddee y 
sir I The burden of business will devolve entirely upon 
us. A Mr. John, a friend of one Mr. Butler, has but 
recently arrived from England. You might make some 
arrangement with him and become his agent : he is a very 
shrewd business man. 

Thakchacha. — I shall be with you to help you, whether 
it be the courts of law or the Treasury Office, or the police 
department, or commerce. They none of them have any 
secrets for me : I know all the ins and outs of them ! 
My Shena also understands all these matters. Ah t sir, 
it is a grief to me that my great capacity for business has 
0, so 10 



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146 THE SPOILT CHILD. * 

been lying dormant all this time ! it has never b^en roused 
^into action or had full play. I am not the kind of man to 
*it idle : if I find an enemy in my way, I promptly assault 
him and put him to the rout. If I once put my hand to 
business I shall get on like the famous Rustem Jol. 
MatilalL — And who is Shena, Thakchacha ? 
Thakchacha. — Shena is your humble servant's wife. 
How can I possibly extol her qualities adequately ? Her 
beauty is as the beauty of Zuleeka, and her understanding 
as that of an angel of light, 

, Bancharam. — Enough of this talk for the present : let 
us to business. "We shall have to advance Mr. John ten 
or fifteen thousand rupees, but there need be no risk. \ I 
have arranged to find this money by mortgaging the 
Kotalpore Taluk. I will deposit the necessary deeds in 
Mr. Butler's office : the expense will not be very great ; 
it will come to between four and five hundred rupees. Be- 
sides this, you have to give five hundred rupees to the 
money-lender's amlah. Ah, those amlahs I they are our 
mortal enemies : our enterprise may all come to nought if 
they put any obstacle in our way. When we have smooth- 
ed away all the preliminary difficulties, we shall find the 
. .auspices favourable for our success. I am just going off to 
Calcutta with Thakchacha. I have a variety of commissions 
to execute, and shall be in a fever till I have finished 
them. Do you, sir, for your part, ascertain from friend 
Tarka Siddhanta a propitious day for the commencement 
of the enterprise, and then come at once; under the au- 
spices of Durga, to my house in Sonagaji. 'You will 
have to remain a few days in Calcutta ; but only a short 
, time will elapse before, like Chand Sadagar, you will return 
to Vaidyabati Ghat with seven vessels laden with wealth, 
drums beating, young men and old men, women and 
children, as they gaze on the splendour of your return. 



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TBB SPOILT CHILD. 14? 

greeting you with blessings. Oh, may the day speedily 
dawn r 

Bancharam then proceeded on his way, and took Thak- 
chacha with him. 

jlfcHlftH reported the whole of the conversation to his 
companions. They danced with delight when they heard 
it. Want of means had almost entirely put an end to 
their fun. Now there was every chance of the treasury 
being replenished. Mango vinda at once hurried off to 
the tol of Tarka Siddhanta ; he was puffing and blowing 
with his exertions when he arrived there. Tarka Sid- 
dhanta was a very old man. He was taking snuff, and al- 
ternately sneezing and coughing ; his pupils were ranged 
1 all round him ; in front of him lay a Sanscrit work 
written on a palm leaf. Every now and then he would 
glance at the manuscript through his spectacles, then give 
out a passage to his pupils and explain it to them. 
The cow of the establishment had not had its rack sup- 
plied, there being a scarcity of straw, and it lowed 
continuously. From inside the house the wife of the 
old pandit was screaming : " The old man is rapidly 
losing his wits : he does nothing, all day and all night 
but mind his books : he never once turns his attention to 
household matters." His pupils, hearing all this, nudged 
each other and winked. Tarka Siddhanta flew into a 
towering rage, and taking hold of a stick, with which to 
keep the old women quiet, was just getting up very slow- 
ly and deliberately, when suddenly Man go vinda caught 
hold of him, and said : " Oh, Tarka Siddhanta, respected 
air ! we are all going into trade. Do ascertain for us an 
auspicious day." Tarka Siddhanta got up in great wrath, 
his face distorted with passion. " A curse light upon you 
and your trade ; could you find no other time but when I 
had just risen from my seat, to call me behind my back ? 



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149 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

So you will go into trade, eh? May you and your 
father's house come to ruin, bad luck to you. You want tc£ 
know what day will be auspicious, eh ? When you cease 
vexing people as you do, they will have their Ganga Snan 
in peace. Off, away with you this minute ! The day you 
clear out of this will be the auspicious day." Some- 
what disconcerted by the old man's abuse, Mangovinda 
went and told his companions that the next day would be 
auspicious. 

Sounds of preparation straightway arose, and there was 
all the bustle that attends arrangements for a festival : it 
was the Udjog Parba over again. While one of the party 
fixed the wire for playing the sitar on his fore-finger, an- 
other tested the baya, tapping it to see whether it had 
any pitch or not : another examined the tabala : another 
tightened the rings round the drums : another put resin 
on a fiddle and tested the strings : another packed up 
the clothes : another prepared small parcels of tobacco, 
ganja and other stimulants, along with bundles of fire- 
wood : another selected, with great care, balls of opium 
and sweetmehts : another examined the different pur- 
chases to see whether they were of correct weight. All 
day and all night the bustle and noise of preparation 
went on without any diminution. It had got about in the 
village that the young Babus were about to go into trade, 
and next day, when all the shopkeepers of the place, 
the poorer sort of people, and the beggars and loafers, 
were out in the roads looking out for them to pass, they 
came swaggering down to the gh&t, like so many wild 
elephants. There were a number of pandits at the gh&t 
engaged in their early morning devotions : hearing the stir 
and bustle, they looked behind them, and at once shook 
with fright. Seeing them so terrified, the Babus only jeered 
frt them and laughed. Then they showered upon them 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 149 

Ganges'mud and brick-bats, and insulted them generally, 
and the Brahraans, interrupted in this rude way at their 
devotions, went their way, calling upon Krishna in their 
distress. The young men having embarked on board a 
boat, all caught up a popular love-song, screaming it out 
at the top of their voices. The boat glided quickly down 
stream on the ebb. The Babus could not keep still for a 
moment ; one would get on the deck of the cabin ; another 
would work the rudder; one would pull an oar, and 
another strike a light with a flint. They had not gone very 
far when they met with Dhanamala. Now Dhanamala 
never cared what he said to any one : he called out to 
them : " Having reduced a whole village to ashes, are you 
now going to set the Ganges on fire ? " To which they 
angrily replied : " Shut up, you idiot ! Do you not know 
hat we are all going into business?" Dhanamala V only 
answer to this was : — " If you ever become traders, may 
your business come to grief ! may it perish with a halter 
on its neck !" •••.,. 



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• CHAPTER XXIII. 
Matilall at Sonagaji. 

At Sonagaji there was a Mahommedan mosque : it had 
long since become the abode of ghosts, and was every- 
where covered with lichen, while jungle crows and mynahs 
had built their nests in different parts of it. These were 
now bringing food to their young ones, who were chirp- 
ing merrily. The mosque had been left unrepaired for 
many a long day : the only sounds heard there at nightfall 
^ere the cries of jackals and the howling of dogs : no 
one remembered having ever seen a light in any part of it. 

Near this ruin a village teacher used to instruct some 
of the village children, whose necks were generally, en- 
veloped in woollen comforters ; and whatever the extent 
of the education they were receiving, they were at least 
frightened put of their lives by the sound of the cane. It 
was only necessary for a boy to lift his eyes off his book, or 
to eat' something out of his lap, for the stick to fall at once 
with a whack on his shoulders. It is a human failing for 
a man armed with authority in any matter, to think that he 
must constantly display that authority in various ways lest 
his dignity should suffer ; and so it^was that 'the old village 
school-master loved to collect a crowd round him, in order 
to make a display of his sovereignty. When he saw 
people going by, he would look in their direction and 
raise his voice to its highest pitch,, and then, if a crowd 
collected, his self-importance increased till there was no 
limit to it : no wonder therefore that, there was a very 
heavy punishment for any trifling fault on the part of 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. ft I 

the boys. A village school tinder such a master pretty 
nearly resembles the Hall of Yama. Besides the con- 
stant sounds of slapping and screaming, and cries of 
u 0h Guru Mahaska}/! Guru Mahashay ! your pupil is 
present," one boy will get his nose tweaked, another 
his ear pulled, another will have to carry a brick in one 
hand, another will be caned, another may be strung up 
by his thumbs, while a stinging nettle will be applied to 
another : some form of punishment or other is continu- 
ally in force. The honour and glory of Sonagaji used 
to be kept up solely by the village school-master whom 
I have mentioned. Just on the outskirts of the village, a 
few beggars, who had been at it all day long, used to con- 
gregate in the evening, wearied by their day's labour, 
and lie down, singing snatches of songs softly to them- 
selves. 

Such was Sonagaji. Since MatilalTs auspicious arrival, 
however, the destiny of the place had undergone a revo- 
lution : there was all the stir and bustle attending a great 
man's movements: the air was full of the prancing of 
: horses, the loud beating of drums : there was an eternal 
munching of delicate sweetmeats: feasting and revelry 
went on unceasingly by night and by day, and the 
people of the place began to prostrate themselves before 
the great man. 

It is very difficult to know Calcutta people well : to the 
outer world, many of them appear all that is respect- 
able, like mangoes with a fair outside. They can assume 
.a vast variety of characters. Money is at the bottom 
of all this : where that is in question, countless are 
the shifts and turns resorted to. Man's nature is so frail 
"that he worships wealth out of all proportion to its 
worth. People make herculean efforts to become recipi- 
ents of the favour of any man reputed to be wealthy ; and 

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152 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

whatever may be necessary for them to say or to do to 
accomplish their object, there are no shortcomings on their 
part. 

People of all grades took to visiting Matilall. Now 
there are some men, like the Brahmans of Ula, who at 
once go to the point with unblushing frankness, so that 
there is no mistaking their meaning. Others, again, 
like the good people of Krishnaghar, expend much in- 
genuity in embroidering their remarks, and only after a 
good deal of beating about the bush will they introduce 
the real object of their visit, and then very delicately. 
Others, like our friends of Eastern Bengal, are very care- 
ful and deliberate in their procedure : they at first assume 
an appearance of indifference and disinterestedness, plung- 

. ing their real object deep in the Dvaipara Lake, and when 
after a long interval their special intention is revealed, it 
turns out that the real object of all their coming and 
going was after all a pecuniary one, — some present or 
other that might hereafter be exchanged for cash. Matilall 
had only to sigh, and the visitor with him at the time would 
snap his fingers, by way of warding off the evil omen : if 
he but sneezed, his visitor would say: "May your life 
be prolonged." If Matilall called for a servant, the 
sycophant would scream out: "Ho there! Ho there!" and 
in answer to every remark of Matilall's, no matter what 
it was, he would say : "Whatever your honour says must 
be right." 

From early dawn till long after midnight people crowd- 
ed about Matilall : every single moment of the day they 
were either coming or going : the staircase leading to his 
reception-room was constantly creaking beneath the heavy 
tramp of their shoes. Every moment fresh supplies of 
tobacco were arriving ; smoke issued from the room at all 

' times as from the funnel of a steam ship : the servants 

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THE SPOILT CHILD. 153 

were so terribly worried, they were at their wits* end. 
Night and day, in one continuous succession, dancing, 
music and all sorts of boisterous fun were kept up. 

The dignity of the village school-master was quite 
eclipsed by all this stir : till now he had been the turkey- 
cock ; now he had become but the tiny tailor-bird. There 
would be a good deal of noise at times when he was teach- 
ing his boys, and Matilall, hearing this one day, said to his 
companions : — " Why is that idiot making so much -noise ? 
I escaped in boyhood from the annoyance of a school- 
master : why must have I another near me now ? Away 
with him quickly." The young Babus taking the hint, very 
soon brought about the disappearance of the village school- 
master from the scene by the simple expedient of throwing 
brickbats at him ; and the village school was in conse- 
quence broken up. The boys of the school, thinking it a 
happy release, took up their bundles of palm leaves, and 
having ridiculed their old school-master to their heart's . 
content, ran breathlessly home. 

Just about this time, Mr. John . opened his house of 
business : the firm was known as John and Company. Matir 
lall was the chief agent of the house, Bancharam and 
Thakchacha managers. The Saheb showed great attention 
% to his chief agent for the sake of his money, and the 
chief agent for his part would pay occasional visits to 
the office with his companions. He generally came 
about three or four in the afternoon, chewing pan, his 
eyes red and inflamed, and after walking about and pry- 
ing into everything, would go home again. The Saheb 
had not a pice to his name, and depended entirely upon 
Mr. Butler for his support: but he rented a house in 
Chowringhee, and filled it with a great variety of furni- 
ture and pictures : he also bought splendid carriages, 



fine horses and dogs, all on credit, and amused himself - 



154 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

training and running race-horses. Later on lie married, 
and frequented the best society of the place, wearing a 
gold chain and a diamond ring. Seeing all this display, 
many people were firmly persuaded that Mr. John was 
a wealthy man, and had no hesitation in having mone- 
tary transactions with him ; but a few persons, of high- 
er intelligence, knowing the real state of his affairs, were 
more cautious, and would have nothing to say to him. 
Many of the Calcutta merchants get their living by broker- 
age : they may be either freight brokers, or they may 
.buy and sell Government paper or goods generally, their 
commission being several rupees in every hundred. Many 
ethers, acquainting themselves with the market prices cur- 
rent in Calcutta and elsewhere, do affairs on their own 
account ; but to manage this, they must have already learned 
the details of busine^, as otherwise their business cannot 
prosper. Mr. John had no capacity for business, at all : he 
was persuaded that he only had to purchase goods to dispose 
of them at a profit : as a matter of fact, his only object was 
to enjoy himself and play the rich man at the expense 
of others. He thought trade a very simple thing : he only 
had to fire enough bullets, and game was- sure to fall 
to one or other. 

The chief agent was even worse in this respect than 
the Saheb : he was blankly ignorant, without any edu- 
cation to speak of, and understanding nothing whatever of 
accounts : consequently, to do business with him was so 
much lost labour. Mahajans, brokers, and shopkeepers 
were continually going to him with patterns of their goods, 
informing him of the fluctuations in prices, and giving 
him the latest market intelligence : all the time they 
were talking business, he would be gazing vacantly about 
him, completely at sea. He never answered any of their 
questions, doubtless for fear that anything he might say 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 16* 

would betray his ignorance : he would refer them to Ban- 
chnn* m and Thakchacha. 

There were a few clerks in the office, who kept all the ac- 
counts in English. Matilall having one day expressed a wish 
to have a thorough examination of the English cash-book, 
had it fetched for this purpose by one of the clerks, then 
having just looked into it casually, shoved it aside. He 
generally occupied a room below the office : this being 
rather damp, the cash-book, having been kept there over a 
month, soon got completely ruined. The young Babus too 
used to tear leaves out of it and twist them up into spills for 
daily use ; and very soon they were all used up in this way, 
the cover only remaining. When search was afterwards 
made for it, it was found to be the mere shadow of its former 
self : it was reduced to a mere skeleton, — bones and hide, 
as the saying is, sacrificed in the service of others. 

Mr. John bewailed and lamented the loss of his cash-book, 
but kept his grief locked in his own breast. He exercised no 
discrimination in the purchases he made, when he began to 
export largely to England and to other countries, and took 
no trouble to find out the real cost of the goods, or what 
would be the margin of profit. Bancharam and Thak- 
chacha saw their opportunity, and made many a successful 
stroke of business for themselves : they soon waxed fat on 
their gains. A small draught is never sufficient to relieve 
great thirst. These two, as they sat together in secret con- 
sultation, had only one object in view, and that was to in- 
crease their gains by every possible means in their power. 
They well knew that the opportunity would never recur 
again. The springtide of their gains would soon pass, and 
the winter of want might come : no time like the present. 

Within a year or two, very bad news arrived of the sale 
of the goods : instead of a profit there would be a loss, 
which Mr. John, to his confusion and dismay, estimated 



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156 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

at a lakh of rupees. He had himself been spending nearly 
a thousand rupees a month, and was besides heavily in 
debt to several banks and money-lenders. For some 
months past, indeed, the firm had only been kept going 
by a variety of shifts : now the fair bark of outward re- 
spectability was altogether swamped. It was impossible to 
keep up appearances any longer, and it soon became noto- 
rious that John and Company had Failed. The Saheb went 
off with his wife to Chandernagore, a place under French 
rule, to which, even to this day, debtors and criminals 
betake themselves to escape imprisonment. The money 
lenders and other creditors thereupon came down upon 
BlatilalL Look where he would, Matilall could see no way 
out of his difficulties : he had not a single pice he could 
call his own : he had been living entirely on credit. He 
could come to no decision one way or the other at this 
juncture. He was constantly on the look out for a visit 
from Bancharam Babu or Thakchacha, but (€ confidence in 
* dear friend is as a knife in the left hand" says an old 
proverb : it was idle to look for any aid from them : they 
had vanished before the smash. 

When the creditors were referred to them they only 
answered that all the accounts were in Mati Babu's 
name : they had had no dealings with the others, re- 
garding them as agents only. Owing to all this con- 
fusion in his affairs, Mati tall fled one night in disguise 
with his companions to Vaidyabati. The people of that 
place, when the news reached them of the outcome of 
MatilalTs trade enterprises, all clapped their hands, and 
fcried: "This is grand news: there is still justice on the 
earth : what meaning would the terms right and wrong 
have, if such a fate had not befallen so wicked a man, — 
a man who has cheated mother, brother, and sister, — a 
, man to whom no sinful action has come amiss ?" 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 157 

It so chanced that Premnaryan Mozoomdar was bath- 
ing the next day at the Vaidyabati Ghat : seeing Tarka 
Siddhanta there, he remarked to him : " Those wretched 
fellows, after having squandered all their substance, have 
had to take to flight, to escape a warrant for their ap- 
prehension, and have returned here : they are not ashamed 
to appear in public again. A fine instrument for the ruin 
of his family has Baburam bequeathed to the world." 
Tarka Siddhanta replied : "The village has been tranquil 
all the time those boys have been away : alas ! that they 
should have returned at all. Had mother Ganga only 
shown us a little favour, how happy we might have 
been !" Several other Brahmans were bathing at the ghat 
at the same time : their teeth began to chatter in terror 
when they heard the news of the return of the young 
Babus, and they thought to themselves : — " Henceforth we 
may expect to have to confide into Sri Krishna's keeping 
our daily ablutions and devotions." Some small shop- 
keepers, as they looked towards the gh&t, said : — " Ah sir ! 
we heard that drums would beat when Mati Babu returned 
with his seven ships laden with treasure : yet we cannot 
see so much as a fisherman's dinghy approaching^ let 
. alone a cargo-boat." Premnarayan replied : — " Do not 
be anxious ; Mati Babu, like Srimanta Saudagor, has ob- 
tained a place of temporary retirement, because of the 
difficulties caused by Kamala Kamini. Is not the Babu 
a very, estimable person ? Is he not the chosen son of the 
fair Lakshmi ! His dinghies, his cargo-boats, and his ships 
^will soon appear, and you will hear the sound of the drums, 
while preparing your parched rice and pulse." 



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CHAPTER XXIV. 
Thakchacha Apprehended. 
. The morning breeze was blowing softly : the champac, 
the sephalika, and the malliha were diffusing sweet odours 
abroad : birds were chirping merrily. Beni Babu had 
taken Barada Babu home with him to his house in Ghatak, 
and was engaged in converse with him, when suddenly 
to the south of where they were, the dogs began to bark 
violently, and some boys came laughing loudly along the 
road. During a temporary lull, they heard the charming 
accents of a nasal voice, expostulating with the boys, and 
singing a Vaishnava song :• — 

* In Brindabun's woods, and the sweet-scented bowers 
" 0£ Brindaban's maidens, O waste not your hours.'* 

Rising from their seats, Beni Babu and Barada Babu 
saw that it was Becharam Babu of Bow Bazar who had 
just arrived : he was rapt in his song, and was snapping 
his fingers by way of accompaniment : dogs were 
barking about him, and boys laughing derisively, and the 
man of Bow Bazar had been angrily expostulating with 
them. Beni Babu and Barada Babu greeted him very 
courteously and invited him to be seated. When they had 
enquired after each other's welfare, Becharam Babu, put- 
ting his hand on Barada Babu's shoulder, said to him : — 
€€ My good friend, I have seen a great many people in my 
day since I was a boy, and many of them possessed of good 
qualities, but after all I can only regard them as mode- 
rately good, their standard little above the average. Be 
that as it may, I have never seen anyone with modesty, 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. I*» 

sincerity, moral courage, simplicity and straightforward-. 
ness, equal to yours. I am somewhat modest myself ; 
but still there are occasions when my pride manifests 
itself: the sight of another man's pride is sufficient to 
evoke it, and with the manifestation of my pride my 
anger rises, and my pride is increased still more by my 
anger. I can never abate a jot of my claims on others. 
I always say what comes uppermost in my mind, but to 
tell you the truth, I am never sincere enough to be will- 
ing to acknowledge openly any mean action I may have 
been guilty of, for I always fear that I may have to en- 
dure mortification, if I acknowledge the truth. I have a 
very limited amount of moral courage : I may be con- 
vinced in my own mind that I ought to take a particular 
course, but I lack the moral courage to act uniformly up 
to my convictions. I find it very difficult, too, to maintain 
a straightforward attitude in dealing with others. True, 
I am aware that a man should always exert himself for 
the welfare of mankind, but I find it very hard to carry 
the conviction into actual practice. It is only necessary for 
a man to speak harshly to' me for me to lose all respect for 
him, and to regard him as utterly beneath contempt. Now a 
man may have done you an actual injury, but your feeling9 
towards him are still sincere and kind. I mean to say, that 
you would never think of doing him an injury, but on the 
contrary a kindness ; and even abuse does not make you 
angry. Can qualities such as these be considered trifling? " 
Barada. — Any man who loves another sees nothing but 
good in him, whereas a man who cannot know another 
intimately only misinterprets his conduct. It is pure 
kindness on your part to speak as you have of me : it can- 
not be owing to my own qualities. It is well-nigh an im- 
possibility for man to maintain a mind that shall be sim- 
ple and honest at all times, in all respects, and towards all 



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160 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

.men. Our minds are full of passion, envy, malice, and 
pride, and is it an easy task to hold all these in restraint ? 
If one's character is to be simple and unaffected, humility is 
the one thing necessary. Some persons display a mock mo- 
desty : some are made humble by fear, others by trouble 
and misfortune. Humility of this kind is but tran- 
sient If humility is to be an enduring and permanent 
quality, such sentiments as these should be firmly fixed 
in our minds. Our Creator, He is all-powerful, omnis- 
cient, without spot, or stain : ourselves, we are here to-day, 
gone to-morrow. Our strength, what is it ? Our learning, 
what is it ? Every moment of our lives we are subject to 
error, evil thoughts and evil deeds : where then is the ground 
for pride ? Such humility as this being implanted in the 
mind, passion, envy, malice, and pride, all are dwarfed, and 
the mind becomes simple and sincere. Where this is the 
case, we derive no pleasure from a display of our own learn- 
ing or intelligence, our own pride of wealth or place, 
which can only anger others ; neither is our envy excited 
by the sight of the prosperity of others. We have no desire, 
either to abuse others, or to think meanly of them ; nei- 
ther does an injury we may have received from another 
arouse our anger, or hatred against him. Our thoughts 
are directed solely to the purification of our own minds, 
or to other's welfare. But much harsh self-discipline is 
necessary before this result can be attained. It is wonder- 
ful, the pride that springs up in the mind of the man 
possessed of but a modicum of wit : his own words, his own 
deeds, stand forth, in the estimation of such a man, as 
superior to those of all others ; nothing that others may 
•say or do is worthy of the slightest attention on his part, 
• Becharam. — Ah, my dear friend, how it refreshes me 
to hear you talk ! I have been all along wishing to have 
such an opportunity. 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 161 

Their conversation was suddenly interrupted by the 
harried arrival of Preranarayan Mozoomdar, with the news 
that the Calcutta police had apprehended Thakchacha 
and taken him off to prison. Becharam Babu was im- 
menselv delighted when he heard the news, and exclaim- 
ed: "This is indeed good news to me." Barada Babu 
was astounded, and fell into deep thought. Becharam 
Babu said to him : " Why are you so deep in thought ? 
Whv, there is nobody I know who would not be delighted 
if so wicked a man were to be transported." 

Barada. — What grieves me is the thought that the 
man from his youth upwards should have done evil and 
not good. Besides, there is his family to think of: they 
will die of starvation if he is put in chains. 

Becharam. — Ah, my good friend ! why do people re- 
verence you but for all your qualities ? Thakchacha 
never lost an opportunity of maligning and injuring you : 
he never ceased insulting and abusing you. Why, it was 
he who fabricated that charge of illegal confinement and 
assault against you, and he made every effort to press the 
charge home by means of forgery. And yet there is not 
a trace of anger or enmity in your mind against him 
on that account. The very meaning of retaliation is un- 
known to you. Tour idea of retaliation was to restore 
him and his family to health again when they fell sick, 
by administering medicines, and by unremitting attention 
on your part ; and even now all your anxiety is for hi3 
family. Ah, my dear friend, you may be a Kayasth in 
caste, but I should be willing to take the dust off the feet 
of sijch a Kayasth and put it on my head ! 

Barada. — Do not, sir, I pray you, talk like this to me. 
I am contemptible, and of no reputation amongst men, 
and am in no way worthy of your praise. Ah, sir! if 
you keep on saying this to me, my pride will increase, 
o, sc v-ll 



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162 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

Meanwhile, in Vaidyabati, a police sergeant, some con- 
stables, and an inspector, were 'irarrying Thakchacha, 
his arms tied behind his back, away to prison. A great 
crowd had collected in the streets. One man said, 
quoting an old proverb : — " As the deed, so the fruit." 
Another man exclaimed : — u We shall never have any peace 
until the wretch is put on boardship and transported." 
While another remarked : — "My only fear is that he may 
♦after all get off, and become as mischievous as ever." 

As, with head bent low, beard fluttering in the breeze, and 
eyes glaring, Thakchacha was going along with the police, 
he quietly offered the sergeant half a rupee to loose his 
bonds : the sergeant had a capacious paunch, and at 
once tossed the half rupee away in contempt. Thakcha- 
cha then . said to him : " Take me for a short time to 
Mati Babu : get him to give bail : let me go for a day 
only, I will put an appearance to-morrow." The sergeant 
only replied : '* You jabbering idiot : you will get a smack 
on the face, if you speak to me again." Thakchacha 
then folded his hands in humble supplication before the 
sergeant, and begged and prayed to be let off. The ser- 
geant refused to listen to him, and put him into a boat ; 
About four o'clock in the afternoon he arrived with him 
at the police court ; but as the police magistrate had 
left the court by that time, Thakchacha had to spend the 
night in the lock-up. 

Matilall, when he heard of the evil plight of Thakcha-r 
cha, became very anxious for himself. He dreaded the fall 
of the thunderbolt in his direction. Thakchacha having 
been caught, his turn he thought was safe to come next ; 
the whole affair, he imagined, was connected with John 
Company, but anyhow extreme caution on his part was 
necessary. Acting upon this determination, he fastened 
the main door of the house very securely. Kamgovinda 



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TEE SPOILT CHILD. 163 

yiid to him : " Thakchacha has been apprehended, sir, on 
a charge of forgery : if there had been a warrant out 
against yon, your house would have been surrounded long 
ago : why entertain such causeless alarm ?" Matilall re- 
plied. "Ah ! none of yon understand : unluckily for me 
misfortunes are cropping up all round me : as the old 
proverb has it, * The burnt shal fish has slipped out of my 
hands. 9 If I can only get through to-day somehow or 
other, I will go off the first thing to-morrow to my 
estates in the Jessore district. It is not safe for me to 
remain at home any longer : I am encompassed with por- 
tents, obstacles, fears, and misfortunes of every kind, and 
besides all this my money is all gone, my hand is mere 
dust" 

Just as he had finished speaking, there was a loud 
knocking at the door, and somebody shouted <?ut : " Open 
the door, friend ! Ho there ! Is there anybody there ? " 
Matilall said very quietly : "Hush ! just what I expected has 
happened." Mangovinda peeped out from above, and saw 
a messenger pushing away at the door : he went quietly to 
Matilall and said to him : "It is high time for you to be 
off, sir ! you had better get away at once ; I rather fancy 
that a second warrant has come in connection with Thak- 
chacha's case. "Who can foresee the end of a spark of 
fire? If you can find no other deserted spot, go and get 
into the dirty tank at the back door, and stand like a pillar 
in the middle, a3 did King Durjyodhan." Dolgovinda 
said : "Why anticipate evil? why swamp the boat at the 
first sight of waves? Find out the true state of affairs 
first : if you wait a second I will make enquiries." Saying 
this, he called out : "Ho there! you messenger! from what 
court have you come ? The messenger replied ! "Sir, I have 
brought a letter from Mr. John," and saying, "Here, take 
the letter ! " he threw it up to them. They all shouted 



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16* THE SPOILT CB1LD. 

"Aha! we are saved! we breathe again !" Then Haladhar 
and Gadadhar, who were behind the others, caught up the 
refrain : — "Protect us, Lord, in this world." The news to 
the young Babus was like an autumn cloud : it was rain, it 
was sun, it was warmth, it was joy. Matilall enjoined them 
to be quiet a little and asked for the letter, telling them 

. that it was possible that some other opportunity for trade 
might be presenting itself. When he had opened the 
letter, the young Babus all stooped over him : there were 
a good many heads collected together, but not an atom of 
learning amongst the lot of them : reading the letter was 
a sore trial to them. At last they had a man called from 
the house of a neighbour of theirs, a Kayasth,' and they 
ascertained the substance of the letter to be that Mr. John 
was almost starving, and that he was very badly in want 
of money. Mangovinda remarked : — " What a shameless 
wretch ! So much money already thrown into the deep on 
his account, and yet he does not leave us alone ; I like his 
impudence!" Dolgovinda said : "It is a very good thing 

. to have an Englishman in our power, for their luck is 
sure to turn : there are times when a handful of mud in 
their hands may become a handful of gold." Matilall 
said to them : "Why are you chattering like this ? You 
may cut me up and not find any blood in me : you may 
whittle me away, and get no flesh off me." 

One evening, about this time, Becharam Babu, having 
crpssed over from Bally, was proceeding along in a north- 
erly direction in a gharry. He was singing a song, the 
refrain of which was — 

a Mahadev 1 thou, by thy great might, 
u TTpholdeat, all things day and night. " ' 

Bancharam Babu was driving his buggy from a souther- 
ly direction : when the two were alongside each other, 
they both peeped out to see who was passing. As soon 



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THE SPOILT CBILD. 165 



as Bancharam canght the outline of Becharam's figure, ho 
whipped up his horse. Beeharam thereupon, holding the 
door of hi* gharry tight with his hand, put his head hur- 
riedly out of the window and shouted out : " Ho ! Bancha- 
ram ! Ho Bancharam ! " Upon this summons, the buggy- 
was brought to a stop, and the gharry drew up to it* with 
many a creak and a groan. Beeharam Babu then said to 
Bancharam : " Aha, Bancharam ! you are indeed a lucky 
fellow! The vessel of your gains is like Itavan's funeral 
pile, ever blazing. At one stroke you have successfully 
carried out your trade ventures. Tour friend and ally* 
Thakcbacha, is now ruined ; and I fancy that even out of 
that circumstance some trifling gain will accrue to you, per- 
haps the price of a goat's head. But you have only work- 
ed your own future ruin by all your vakeeVs practices and 
stratagems; Has this thought, that you must die some time 
or other, never occurred to you ? " Bancharam Babu was 
exceedingly angry at all this : he frowned and bit his mous- 
tache in his vexation, and venting his rage on his horse's 
back, drovo away. 



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• CHAPTER XXV. 

Matecall in Jessore. 

The taluk that belonged to Baburam Babu in Jessore had 
been more profitable to him than all his other estates. 
At the time of the Permanent Settlement the land on that 
jj portion of the property had been mostly uncultivated, and 

the rent of it had been fixed at one rate ; but once under 
tillage, it became very productive and was let out in fields : 
in fact it proved so fertile that hardly any portion of it 
remained common land or waste. 

At one period the ryots, after cultivating it for some 
time, used to make large profits by a succession of crops of 
different sorts, but they were now in a very bad way, 
Owing to oppression on the part of the proprietor of the 
estate, acting entirely on Thakchacha's advice. Many of 
the lakherajdars, finding that their lands had been includ- 
ed in the estates of the zemindar, and not having any 
proofs of possession, came now and again to give their 
customary offerings to the zemindar, and then gradually 
left the estate altogether. Many of the headmen of the 
different villages, too, finding themselves disturbed in their 
possession by forgeries and oppression, abandoned their 
rights to their own lands, without getting any compensa- 
tion, and fled to other estates. So it came about that for 
a space of two or three years the income of the taluk had 
considerably increased, and Thakchacha would remark to 
* Baburam in a swaggering tone : " See how great my 
power is !" But, says the old Sanscrit proverb ; — "The 
course of virtue is a very delicate thing." Within a very 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 167 

short time, many of the ryots, alarmed at the state of 
affairs, left the estates, taking with them their draught 
cattle and their seed-grain, and it became very difficult to 
let their land: they were all afraid that the proprietor 
would, either by force or by craft, seize upon the little 
profits they might make, and that the toil and labour of 
cultivation would be carried on at the risk of their lives : 
what was the use then, they argued, of remaining any 
longer on the estate ? The naib of the estate, for all his 
soft language and insinuating address, could not succeed 
in calming them down. So it was that a good deal of 
land remained unlet, and nobody could be found willing to 
take it even at a low rent : much less would anyone take 
it at a fixed permanent rent. The proprietor had now some 
difficulty in raising the revenue from it when he took 
it into his own hands, and paid labourers to cultivate it. 
Tlty naib kept the proprietor constantly informed of the 
state of affairs, and he would write back the Customary 
reply; — "If the revenue is not collected, as it always has 
been hitherto, you will have to starve, and.no excuse will 
be attended to." Now there are times when severity, 
under special circumstances, may be of avail ; but what can 
it profit when misfortunes have occurred entirely beyond 
its reach ? In this dilemma, the naib went about his duties, 
anxious and perplexed. Meanwhile, as the revenue had 
fallen into arrears for some two or three years past, an 
order was issued for a sale of the property ; in order to 
save his property, Baburam Babu had paid the Govern- 
ment revenue, borrowing money by a mortgage upon the 
land. 

Matilall now came and took up his abode on this estate, 
,accompanied by his band of boon companions. His inten- 
tion had been to get all the money he could out of the 
taluk to pay off his debts with, and so keep up his state 



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and dignity.' The Babu had never seen a paper connecjtfd 
with estate management, and was entirely ignorant of the 
ordinary terms used in keeping estate accounts. When the 
naib said to him one day : " Just look, sir, for a moment 
at these different heads of the records ; " he would not 
even glance at the papers, but gazed vacantly in the 
direction of a tree near the office. On another occasion, 
the naib said to him : " Sir, there are so many Khodkast 
tod so many Paikast tenants." " Don't talk to me," said 
the Babu, " of Khodkast and Paikast, I will make them 
all Ek-kast." When the tenants heard of the arrival of 
the proprietor of the estate at his head-quarters, they were 
delighted, and said to each other : €i Ah, now that that old 
wretch of a Mussulman has gone, our destiny after all 
these days has changed its course ! " And so these poor 
empty-handed, empty - stomached and poverty-stricken 
tenants came with joyous and confident faces, to offer him 
the customary gifts, making profound obeisance the while. 
Matilall, enraptured by the jingling sound of the silver, 
smiled softly to himself. Then the ryots, seeing the Babu 
so happy and cheerful, began to shout out their various 
grievances. u Somebody has removed my boundary mark, 
and ploughed up my land," said one. "Somebody has 
put his own pots on my date palm, and stolen all my 
toddy," said another. "Somebody has loosed his cattle 
into my garden," exclaimed another, " and they have done 
a lot of damage in it." " My grain has all been eaten .up 
by somebody or other's ducks," cried another. Another 
said, "I have brought back the money I borrowed upon 
a promissory note ; please give me my bond back." " I 
have cut down and sold some babul trees " said another, 
" and as I wish to repair my house, please pass an order 
to have the fourth, part of the price remitted to me." 
Another said, " My land has not been properly made over 



. i. jtw j ii inipi! ppwp^mwBy^w' 



THE SPOILT CU1LD. 169 

to me jet : the old tenant's name has not been cut oat 
of the deed : I shall be unable to give the customary offer- 
ing till this is done. " And another cried out, "The 
present measurement of the land in my occupation is 
short: allow me to pay rent in proportion, or else let 
another measurement be made." Such wero some of the 
grievances the ryots gave vent to, but Matilall, not under- 
standing in the least their purport, remained sitting like 
a painted doll. The young Babus, his companions, made 
fan of the strange sounds, which they had never heard the 
like of before, and made the office ring with their laughter, 
striking up a song the refrain of which ran : — 
" A bird is soaring in the air : 
" Ob, let me count its feathers rare I *' 

The naib was like a log, and the ryots sat round in 
utter dejection, resting their heads on their hands. Where 
the master is a competent man, there is not much chance 
of the servant carrying oji his tricks. The naib, seeing 
how utterly dense Matilall was, soon began to show him- 
self in his true colours. The proprietor being 'altogether 
incompetent to enter into the numerous cases that had come 
before him, his agent threw dust in his eyes, to effect his 
owo ends ; and the ryots soon got to know that to have an 
•interview with the Babu was a mere waste of breath. The 
naib was wholly master. 

The high-handedne3S of the indigo planters of Jessore 
had greatly increased at this time. The ryots had no 
mind to sow indigo, as more profit was to be got out of 
rice and other crops, and besides, any of them who 
chanced to go to an indigo factory to get an advance, 
was ruined once for all. True, the ryots cultivating 
indigo at their own risk might clear off the advances 
inade to them, but their accounts would go hanging on 
and increase, yearly and the maw of the planter's go- 



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170 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

mculuha, and the other people ahout the factory, was never 
satisfied with a little. Any ryot therefore who had once 
drank of the sweet waters of an advance from the factory, 
never, to the end of his life, got out of its power. But 
it would be a heavy calamity to the planter if his indigo 
were not ready : the working expenses of the factory were 
annually advanced by one or other of the merchant firms 
in Calcutta, and if his wares were not forthcoming, his 
expenses 'would be very largely increased : the factory 
might even have to be closed, and the planter be compelled 
to retire from the concern. These English managers 
might be very ordinary sort of people in their own country, 
but at their factories they lorded it like kings. Their great 
fear was lest obstacles should be put in the way of the work- 
ing of their concerns, and they, in consequence, should . 
become as mean as mice again : naturally, therefore, they 
exerted themselves to the utmost, by all the means in their 
power and at all seasons, to have their indigo ready in 
time. 

One day, Matilall was amusing himself with his com* 
panions. The naib, with spectacles on his nose, had just 
opened his office, and was busily engaged in writing, dry- 
ing the ink on his papers with lime, when suddenly some 
ryots came running up, shouting : "Sir ! those brutes from . 
the factory have ruined us entirely I the manager ha3 
Come on our land in person, and is now ploughing over 
some of our sown lands, and he has taken off our draught 
cattle. Oh sir I the brute is not content with destroying < 
all our seed, he must needs too have his barrows drawn/ 
4)ver our ripe paddy." The naib at once assembled about 
a hundred paiks, and, hurrying off to the scene, saw the 
planter, with his sun-helmet on his head, a cheroot in his 
mouth, and a gun in his hand, standing there, and, urging 
on his men. Upon the naib approaching him, and gently 



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TEE SPOILT CHILD. in 

remonstrating, the planter only called ont to his men : 
u Drive them all off, and beat them well." The men on 
both sides thereupon wielded their clubs, and the planter 

. himself hurried forward, quite prepared to fire. The naib 
slipped off, and concealed himself in a hedge of wild cotton. 
After the fight had lasted a considerable time, the 
zemindars' people fled, some of them badly wounded. 
The planter, after this exhibition of his might* went off to 
his factory in great glee, while the ryots returned to 
their homes, crying out for justice, and exclaiming, amid 
heir tears: "We are ruined: we are utterly undone." 
The indigo planter proceeded home to his factory after 
the row, his dog running before him and playing, poured 
himself out some brandy and soda, and drank it, whistling 
the while, and singing — " Taza ba Taza" He knew that 
it was hard to' control him ; the magistrate and the judge 
constantly dined at his house, and the police and the 
people about the courts held him in great awe because 
of his associating so much with them ! Besides even if 
there was any investigation made, in a case of homicide, 
his trial could not take place in the Mofussil courts. Any 

• -black people accused of homicide or any other great 
offence, would always be tried and sentenced in the 
local courts; whereas any white man accused of such 
offences would be sent up to the Supreme Court ; in 
which case the witnesses or complainants in the case being 

^ quite helpless owing to the expense, trouble, and loss 

' their business that would be entailed, would fail to put to 
in an appearance ; and naturally, when the cases against 
such persons came on for trial at the High Court, they 
would be dismissed. . 

— <- It happened just as the indigo planter had anticipated. 
Early next morning the police inspector came and sur- 
rounded the zemindar's offices. Weakness is a great cala- 



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172 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

mity: in the presence of a man of might, the poor man 
is powerless. When Matilall saw the state of affairs, 
lie withdrew inside his house, and secured the doors. The 
naib then approached the inspector, and having arranged 
matters by a heavy bribe, got most of the prisoners 
set free. The inspector had been blustering loudly, but 
as soon as he received the money, it was as though water 
had fallen on fire : having completed his investigation, 
he made a report to the magistrate, exonerating both 
parties — actuated on the one hand by avarice, on the other 
by fear. The planter was at the same time busily en- 
gaged in arranging the affair, and the magistrate for 
his part was firmly convinced that the indigo planter, 
being an Englishman, and a Christian to boot, would 
never do what was wrong ; it was only the black folk who 
did all the mischief. This was an opportunity the slieris- 
tadar and the peshkar did not neglect : they took a heavy 
bribe from the indigo planter, and suppressing the depo- 
sitions of the opposite party, read only the depositions 
of the party they favoured themselves : thus by very 
delicate and skilful manoeuvring, they succeeded jn their 
object. ' The indigo planter seized the opportunity to 
address the court : — " Ever since I came to this place, 
I have been conferring endless benefits on the Bengalis : 
I have spent a great deal upon their education and upon 
medical treatment for them ; how can such an accusation 
be brought against me ? The Bengalis are very ungrate- 
ful, and very troublesome." The magistrate, having heard 
Everything, proceeded to tiffin : he drank a good deal of 
wine after tiffin, and came into court again, smoking a 
cheroot. When the case came on again, the magistrate 
looked at the papers before him as if they had been so 
many tigers, evidently wishing to have nothing more to 
do with, them, and said all at once to the sheristadar : 



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TEE SPOILT CHILD. 173 

""Dismiss this case." The planter's face beamed again 
with delight, and he glared at the naib, who went slowly 
away, his head bent low, and his whole frame trembling, 
exclaiming as he went : " Ah, it has become very difficult 
for Bengalis to retain their zemindaries ! the country has 
been ruined by the violence of the brutal planter : the 
ryots are all calling out in fear for protection : the magis- 
trates are entirely under the influence of fheir own country- 
men, and the laws are so administered as to provide the 
indigo planter with many paths of escape. People say 
that it is the oppression of the zemindars that has ruined 
the ryot : that is a very great error. The zemindars may 
oppress the ryot, but they do keep him alive after their 
fashion : his ryots are to the zemindar his field of beguns. 
Very different is the action of the indigo planter ; it does 
not much matter to him whether the ryots live or die : 
all he cares about is to extend the cultivation of indigo : 
to him the ryots are but a common field of roots." 



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/ CHAPTER XXVI. 

Thakchacha in Jail. 

Sleep will never come when fear and anxiety have en- 
tered the mind. Thakchacha was exceedingly uncomfort- 
able in the lock-up : he had thrown himself on a blanket, 
and was tossing restlessly from side to side : now and again 
. he got up to see what hour of the night it was. Whenever 
he heard the sound of carriage-wheels, or a voice, he 
imagined it must be daybreak : he kept getting up in a 
hurry, and saying to the sepoy guard: "Friends, how 
far advanced is the night ? " They were very angry, and 
«aid to him : "Ho, you there ! the gun will not be fired for 
two or three hours yet ! Keep quiet now ; why do you 
keep on disturbing us like this every hour ?" Thakchacha, 
at these words, began to toss about on his blanket again. 
Conflicting emotions rose in his mind, and he revolved a 
variety of plans : his reflections continually taking this turn; 
— " Why have I been so long conversant with craft and 
trickery ? Where is now the money that I have earned in 
this way ? I have nothing left of all my sinful gains. 
The only result, so far as I can see, is that I got no 
sleep at night for fear of being detected in some crime or 
other. I lived in constant terror : if the leaves of a tree 
only shook, I imagined some one was coming to appre- 
hend me. How often did my sister-in-law's husband, 
Khoda Buksh, warn me against all this trickery and 
craft! His words to me were: 'It would be much 
better for you if you would get your living by agri- 
culture or trade or service : you can come to no harm 

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TEE SPOILT CHILD. 175 

so long as you walk in the straight path : by snch a course 
you will keep body and mind alike in sound health/ And 
Khoda Buksh, because he does himself walk thus, is happy. 
Alas I why did I not listen to his words ? How shall I 
find a release from this present alamity Unless I 
can secure a pleader or a barrister, I shall never succeed 
in doin<* so. But if there is no evidence against me, 
1 cannot possibly be punished. How will they find out 
where the forgery was committed, or who committed it ?" 
He was still revolving all these thoughts in his mind 
* when the day began to break, and then from sheer weari- 
ness he fell asleep. Soon however he began to dream 
about his many misfortunes, and to talk in his sleep* 
"Ah Bahulya ! take care that no one gets a glimpse of the 
pencil* the pen and the other instruments : they are all 
in the tank in the house at Sialdah : they will be quite 
safe there : be very careful now not to take them out 
again, and get off yourself as soon as you can to Faridpore ; 
I will meet you there, when I have been set free." 

It was now morning, and the rays of the sun fell through 
the Venetians full on Thakchacha's beard. The jemadar of 
the lock-up had been standing near Thakchacha, and had 
heard all he said. He now shouted : " Ho, you old rascal ! 
what ! have you been asleep all this time ? Get up, you 
have revealed all your secrets yourself." Thakchacha got 
up in a great flurry, and rubbing his eyes his nose and his 
beard with his hand, commenced repeating his prayers: and 
again, he looked at the jemadar with eyes half-open, and 
then closed again. The jemadar frowned, and said : " You 
are a fine hypocrite, you are ! sitting there with a whole 
sack of virtue I Well, well ! your virtue will be fully 
manifest when we have taken the instruments out of the 
tank at Sialdah." At these words Thakchacha trembled 
all over like a plantain leaf, and said : "Ah, sir ! I have a 



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176 . THE SPOILT CHILD. 

heavy fever on me ; hence the lies I told in my sleep." 
."Well, " replied the jemadar y "we shall soon know the 
meaning of all you have said : get ready at once." With 
these words, he departed. 

As soon as it struck ten, the officers of the court took 
Thakchacha and the other accused into court. Bancha- 
ram had been walking up and down the police court with 
Mr. Butler, long before nine. He was thinking — " If we 
can only get Thakchacha off this time, we may still secure 
a good deal of business through his agency : he is an 
extremely useful person in many ways, through his power 
of talking people over, and his special knowledge and 
experience in every kind of business, legal or otherwise ; 
but I have always for myself acted, on the principle;— 
*No rupees, no investigation/ I cannot, as the saying is, 
* drive away the wild buffalo at my own expense ;* and 
again, as another saying has it, * I have sat down to 
dance, why then a veil ? * Why conceal my sentiments ? 
Besides, Thakchacha has bled a good many people, what 
harm then in bleeding him ? But a good deal of skill 
is necessary to get the flesh of a crow to eat, and it will not 
be easy to make anything out of so wary an individual as 
Thakchacha. Mr. Butler, seeing Bancharam so absent- 
minded, asked him what he was anxious about. Ban- 
charam replied : " Ah, dear Saheb, I am thinking how 
to get money, to enter my house ! " Mr. Butler, who had 
moved away a little distance, exclaimed : " A capital idea, 
capital." 

As soon as he saw Thakchacha, Bancharam ran up to 
him, and catching hold of his hands said to him, with tears 
in his eyes : " Ah, what a misfortune this is ! I sat up the 
whole of last night in consequence of the bad news ; not 
once did I close my eyes, and after I had in a fashion per- 
formed my religious duties, I slipped away before daylight, 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 177 

and brought the Saheb with me. But why be afraid ? Am 

I a mere child that you cannot trust me ? A man's life has 

many vicissitudes : moreover, it is the big tree that the 

storm strikes t Bat no investigation can be made, and 

nothing done, unless money is forthcoming : I have none 

with me : but if you would have some of your wife's heavy 

ornaments fetched, business can proceed : only get off 

scot-free this time, and you will get plenty of jewelry 

afterwards." It is very hard for a man who has fallen into 

any misfortune to deliberate calmly. Thakchacha at once 

wrote off a letter to his wife. Bancharam took the letter 

and with a wink and a smile at Mr. Butler handed it to 

a messenger, saying : " Run with all speed to Vadyabati, 

get some heavy ornaments from Thakchacha's wife, and 

return here or to the office in the twinkling of an eye ; 

and look you, be very careful how you bring the ornaments ! 

Look sharp, be off like a shot." The messenger testily 

replied: "It is easier said than done, sir I I have to get 

out of Calcutta first, then I have' to get to Vaidyabati 

and then find Thakchacha's wife. I shall have to wander 

and stumble about in the dark, and besides, I have not yet 

had my bath, let alone a morsel of food : how can I possibly 

get back to-day ?" Bancharam lost his temper and abused 

the man, saying : u The lower orders are all alike: each acts 

as he thinks proper : courtesy is wasted upon them : there 

is no hurrying them up without kicks and blows ! People 

can go as far as Delhi when they have an object in view: 

cannot you then go as far as Vaidyabati, do your business, 

and come back again ? You know the proverb : ' A hint 

is sufficient for a wise man :' now I have actually had to 

poke my finger into your eye, and yet you have not had 

wit enough to see. " The messenger hung his head 

down, and without saying a word in reply, went slowly 

off like a jaded horse, muttering as he went : " What 

0,80 12 



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178 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

have poor persons to db with respect or disrespect ? I 
most put up with it in order to live, but when will the 
day arrive when the Babu will fall into the same snare 
as Thakchacha ? I know that he has ruined hundreds 
of people and hundreds of homes, and hundreds he has 
rendered houseless and destitute. Ah indeed, I have 
seen a good many attorneys' agents, but never a match 
for this man ! See the sort he is ! a man who can swear 
black is white, a man who can compass anything he likes 
by his trickery and craft, and yet all the time keeps up 
his daily religious duties, his Dol Jatra and his Durga 
Pujah, his alms to the Brahmans and his devotions to 
his guardian deity ! Bad luck to such Hinduism as his, the 
multigated scoundrel V 9 

: Meanwhile Thakchacha, Bancharam and Mr. Butler 
had all taken their seats : the case had not yet been 
called on, and theii: impatience only increased with the 
delay. Just as it struck five o'clock, Thakchacha was 
placed before the magistrate, and soon saw that the in- 
struments wherewith he had committed the forgery had 
been brought into court from the tank at Sialdah, and 
that some villagers from that quarter were also pre- 
sent in court. After examination into the case, the 
magistrate passed these orders : — " The case must be sent 
up to the High Court: the prisoner cannot be admitted 
to baU : he must be imprisoned in the Presidency Jail." 
As soon 9? these orders had been passed, Bancharam ran 
up quickly, and shaking the prisoner by the hand, said : 

" What oause for alarm is there ? You don't take me for 

a child that you cannot trust me ? I knew all along 
that the case would go up to the High Court: that is 
just what we want." 

Thakchacha's face looked all at once pinched and with-* 

ered from anxiety. The constable seized him by the arms, 



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TBE SPOILT CHILD. 179 

dragged him roughly down, and sent him off to the jail. 
Thakchacha proceeded along, his fetters clanging as he 
went, and his throat parched, without so much as lifting 
op his eyes, for fear of seeing somebody who might recog- 
nise and jeer at him. 

It was evening when Thakchacha first put his foot 
into that c House of Beauty/ — the Presidency Jail. All 
those who are in for debt or civil cases arc imprisoned 
on one side, those who are in on criminal charges on the 
other ; and after trial they may have either to work out a 
fixed sentence there, or grind soorkey in the mill-house, 
or else chains and fetters may be their lot. Thakchacha 
had to remain on the criminal side qt the jail. As soon 
as he entered, the prisoners all surrounded him. Thak- 
. chacha looked closely at them, but could not recognise 
a single acquaintance amongst them. The prisoners ex- 
claimed : " Ah, Munshi Ji ! what are you staring at ? 
You are in the same plight as we are : come then, let 
us associate together." Thakchacha replied : " Ah, gentle- 
men I have fallen into unmerited trouble ! I have taken 
nothing from any man : I have touched nothing belong- 
ing to any man : it is but a turn of the wheel of 
fortune." One or two of the old offenders said : " Ha ! 
And is that really so? A good many people get over- 
whelmed by false charges." One rough fellow said 
harshly : " Are we to suppose then that the charge against 
you'is false, while those against ourselves are true? Ha ! 
what a virtuous and eloquent man has come amongst 
us I Be careful, my brothers ; this bearded fellow is a 
very cunning sort of individual." Thakchacha at once 
became more modest, and began to depreciate himself, but 
they were long engaged in a wrangle on the subject : 
any trifling matter will serve when people have nothing 
else to do, as a peg whereon to hang an argument. 



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; ! 180 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

\ j The jail had been shut for the night : the prisoners 

! j . had had their food and were preparing, to lie down to 

j („ sleep. Thakchacha was just on the point of seizing this 

J j' opportunity to throw into his mouth some sweetmeats he 

had brought with him 9 tied up in his waistclpth, when 
suddenly two of the prisoners, low fellows, with whiskers, 
hair and eyebrows all white, came up behind him and 
snatched away the vessel containing the sweetmeats, laugh- 
ing loudly and harshly the while. They just showed them 
to the others, then tossed them into their mouths, and 
demolished them, coming close up to Thakchacha as they 
ate, and jeering at him. Thakchacha remained perfectly 
dumb, and keeping. the insult to himself, got quietly on 
to his sleeping mat, and lay down. 



i 



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CHAPTER XXVII. 
Thb Trial at the High Court. 

Thr cutting of the rice-crops had already begun in the 
Soonderbnnds : boats were constantly coming and going 
with their loads. There was water everywhere : here and 
there were raised bamboo platforms to serve as refuges 
whence the ryots could watch their crops ; but, for all 
their produce the people were no better off. On the one 
hand there was the mahajan, who made them advances, 
to be satisfied, on the other, the zemindar's paik with his 
extortion : if they succeeded in selling their crops well, 
they might perhaps have two full meals a day, otherwise 
all they had to depend upon was fish or vegetables, or 
what they could earn as day labourers. On the higher 
lands only the autumn rice-crops are grown, the spring 
crops being generally raised on the lower lands. Rice is very 
easily grown in Bengal, but the crops have many obstacles 
to contend with : they are liable to destruction from ex- 
cess of rain and from want of it ; then there are the locusts 
and all kinds of destructive insects, and the late autumn 
storms : the rice-crop, moreover, requires continual atten- 
tion for without very great care being exercised, blight 
attack the plants. 

Bahulya, after looking- after his little property all the 
morning, was sitting in his verandah smoking, a bundle 
of papers before him. Near him were seated certain 
scoundrels of the deepest dye, and some persons connected 
with the courts : the subject of their conversation was the 
law as administered by the magistrate, and certain suits- 



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' i 



THE SPOILT CHILD. 

at-law then pending. One of the men was hinting at the 
necessity of getting some fresh documents prepared and 
some additional witnesses snborned : another was loudly 
applauding his successful devices, as he unfastened rupees 
from his waistcioth. Bahulya himself seemed somewhat 
absent-minded and kept looking about him in all direc- 
tions : now and again, he gave some trivial orders to his cul- 
tivators. "Ho there ! lift that pumpkin on to the macfian" 
" Spread those bundles of straw in the sun." Then again 
he would gaze all about him, evidently restless and agi- 
tated. One of the company remarked : "Moulvi Saheb ! 
I have just heard some bad news about Thakchacha. Is 
there not likely to be some trouble ? " Bahulya had no 
wish to tell any of his secrets, so shaking his head from 
side to side he replied in a light sententious manner : " Man 
is encompassed about with every danger; ; why should you 
be in any fear ?" Another man remarked : €i That is all very 
"true, but Thakchacha is a very clever man : he will escape 
from the danger by the mere force of his intelligence. 
But be that as it may, we shall be very glad if no calamity 
befalls you : we have no allies, no resources save you, in 
this Bbowanipore. Talk of our strength, of our wisdom ; 
-why, you are all in your own person : if yon were not 
here we should have to remove our abode hence. It was 
most fortunate for me that you fabricated those papers for 
me, for I managed to give that idiot of a zemindar a good 
lesson by their means : he has done me no injury since : 
he knows very well that all the weight of your influence 
has been thrown into the scales on my behalf against him." 
Bahulya, contentedly puffing away at his hooka, with 
its pedestal of Bidri ware, and letting the smoke out of 
his eyes and mouth, laughed gently to himself. Another 
man remarked : " When a man has to take land into his 
own hands in the Mofussil there are two ways of keeping 



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r b& spoilt child. iss 

the zeinindar and the indigo planter quiet ; the first is to 
get the protection of a man like the Moulvi Saheb here : 
the second to become a Christian. I have seen a good 
many ryots, nnder the protection of the padri, lording it 
over their fellows, like so many Brahmin bulls among a 
herd of cows : there is power in the padr?$ money, in his 
signature, and in his recommendation. 'People always 
look after their own/ says a proverb* I do not say that 
the ryots are all really Christian at heart, but those that 
go to the padri $ church get a good may advantages, and 
in police cases a letter from the padri is of great service 
to them." Bahulya replied : "That may be all very true* 
but it is a very bad thing for a man to renounce his faith.'' 
They all at once said : " Very true, very true, and on this 
account we never go near the padri" 

They were all gossiping away merrily like this, when 
suddenly a police inspector, some jemadars, and sergeants 
of police, rushed forward and caught hold of Bahulya 
by the arms, saying : " Ton have committed forgery along 
with Thakchacha : there is a warrant for your apprehen- 
sion." The men who had been with Bahulya were seized 
with terror when they heard these words, and ran off as 
fast as they could. Bahulya appealed to the avarice of 
the inspector and the sergeant of police, but they would 
not listen to the offer 6f a bribe for fear of losing their 
appointment ; they seized him and took him off with 
them. As the news spread in Upper Bhowanipore, a 
great crowd collected, and some of the more respectable 
people in the crowd exclaimed ; — "The punishment of 
crime must come sooner or later : if people who have 
been perpetrating crimes pass their lives in happiness, 
then must the creation be all a delusion and a lie ; but 
such can never be." As Bahulya proceeded on his way, 
with his head bent low, he met a good many people, but he 



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affected to see no one. Some there were who had at some 
time or other been victimised by him : seeing that their 
opportunity had now come, they ventured to approach him, 
$nd Said : " Ah, Moulvi Saheb ! how deep in thought you 
•re — Krishna pining for Brindabun ! you must have some 
very important business on hand." Bahulya answered 
not a word. After having crossed over from Bansberia 
Ghat he arrived at Shahganj. Some of the leading Maho- 
Siedans of that place remarked when they saw him, 
"Ah! the rogue has been caught : that is a very good 
thing, and it will be still better thing if he is punished." 
All these remarks directed against him seemed so much 
added to his disgrace : they were as the strokes of a 
sword upon a dead body. Exceedingly mortified by all 
the insults he had been exposed to, he at length reached 
Bhowanipore. 

From a short distance off it appeared as if there was 
a crowd of people standing on the left side of the road. 
When they came nearer, the police sergeant stopped with 
Bahulya, and asked why there was such a crowd there : 
then, pushing his way into the circle, he saw a gentleman 
seated on the ground with an injured man in his lap: 
•blood poured in a continuous stream from his head, and the 
clothing of the gentleman was all saturated with it. Upon 
the sergeant asking the gentleman who he was and how 
the man got injured, he replied : — " My name is Barad^ 
Prasad Biswas : I was coming here on business, and, as it 
happened, this man was accidentally run over by a carriage, 
and I have been looking after him. I am trying to find 
some means of taking him to the hospital at once : I 
sent for a palki, but the j?aZfe-bearers refuse on any con- 
sideration to take the man, as he is of the sweeper caste. I 
have a carriage with me, but the man cannot get into a 
.carriage : if I can only get a paiki, or a dooly I atfc fully 



i. w i i l Mjm i * w » yw 



THE SPOILT CHILD. 185 

prepared to pay the hire, whatever it may amount to." 
The heart even of the most worthless may be melted by 
the sight of snch goodness. Bahulya marvelled to see 
this behaviour of Barada Babu's, and a feeling of remorse 
rose in his mind. The sergeant of police said to Barada 
Babu : " Sir, the people of Bengal never touch a man 
of the sweeper caste : it must be no easy matter for yon, 
being a Bengali, to do as yon are doing : yon must be no 
ordinary person." As he said this, he put the prisoner in 
the charge of a constable and went off himself to a palhi 
stand, where by a liberal expenditure of threats and pro- 
mises, he managed to get a palki, and sent the injured 
map off to the hospital in charge of Barada Babu. 

At one time, criminal cases were tried at the High 
Court at intervals of three months in the year ; now, they 
•re held much more frequently. Two kinds of juries are 
empanelled for the purpose of deciding upon criminal 
cases. First, there is the grand jury, who, after due 
deliberation as to whether an indictment framed by the 
police or others is a true bill or not, inform the court ; 
secondly, there is a petty jury, who help the judge to 
come to a decision in cases that have been found to be 
true bills, in accordance with the deliberate opinion of 
the grand jury, and find the accused guilty or not guilty.. 
At every sessions of the Criminal Court, twenty-four 
persons are called on the grand jury : any person with 
property of the value of two lakhs, or any merchant, may 
be oh it. During the sessions, the petty jury may be em- 
panelled every day, and when their names are called on, 
the defendants or the plaintiffs may raise objections to them 
if they please : that is to say, they may have some one 
appointed on the jury in place of anyone about whom they 
have any doubts ; but when the twelve persons have once 
been sworn in as the petty jury, no change can be made., 



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-£2> 



186 TOE SPOILT CHILD. 

On the first day of the sessions, three judges preside, dtid 
BS soon as the grand jury have been empanelled, the judge, 
whose turn of duty it may be, charges them, that is to say, 
explains to them all the cases on for trial at the sessions. 
After the charge has been delivered, the two other judges, 
who are not on duty, depart ; and the grand jury will then 
withdraw to record their deliberate opinion on the cases 
before them, and when they have sent it in to the judge, the 
trial will commence. 

The night had nearly come to an end : a gentle breeze 
was blowing. At this beajitifully cool morning hour 
Thakchacha was fast asleep and snoring loud, with his 
mouth wide open : the other prisoners were up and smok- 
ing, and some of them hearing the sound of snoring kept 
whispering into Thakchacha's ears: "Eat a burnt buffalo I" 
but Thakchacha went on sleeping as soundly as the famous 
Kumbha Kama; — 

"Oh! the thunder of a snore; 
M How it terrifies me sore I "" 

. Not long afterwards the English jailor came and told 
the prisoners that they must get ready at once, as they 
were all wanted at the High Court immediately. 
'.- Upon the opening of the sessions, the verandah of 
the High Court was crowded with people, even before 
the clock struck ten. Attorneys, barristers, plaintiffs de- 
fendants, witnesses, attorneys' touts, jurymen, sergeants 
of police, jemadars, constables, and others were all col- 
lected there. Bancharam was pacing up and down with 
Mr. Butler, and any rich man he saw, no matter whether 
he knew him or not, he would greet with hands up- 
lifted, in order to parade his Brahmanical degree ; but 
he deceived no one who knew him well by this assump- 
v tion of courtesy. They would perhaps speak with him for 
a moment or two, and then on some imaginary plea or 



mgmv 



-^-^.,j m il . , . . l " . ' ' " ' 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. \%1 

other slip away" from him. Soon the jail Van arrived, 
with sepoys on it before and behind : everybody looked* 
down on it from the verandah above. The police removed 
the prisoners from the van and placed them in an enclo- 
sure in a room below the court-roota. 

Bancharam hurried below to have an interview with 
Thakchacha and Bahulya. "You two are Bhima and 
Arjuna," said he to them ; "have no fear ; you may put 
full confidence in me, I am not a child you know. " 
* Aboute twelve o'clock, a space was cleared down the 
middle of the verandah, and the people all stood on either 
side of it : the chuprassis of the court commanded silence : 
all were eagerly expecting the arrival of the judges ; 
then the sergeant of police, the chuprassis and the mace- 
bearers, bearing in their hands staves, maces, swords, and 
the royal silver-crowned insignia, went outside the court : 
the sheriff and deputy sheriff appeared with rods, and 
then the three judges, clothed in scarlet, ascended the 
bench with dignified gait and grave faces, and, after salu- 
ting the counsel, took their seats on the bench, the coun- 
sel making profound obeisance as they stood up in their 
places. The moving of chairs, the whispering and chatter* 
ing of people, made a great noise in the court, and the 
chuprassis of the court had repeatedly to call out : C4 Si- 
lence in the court ! " The sergeants of police also tried to 
keep the people quiet, and then, as the town crier called 
out : u Oh yes ! oh yes ! " the sessions opened. The names 
of the grand jury were then called over, and they were 
duly empanelled. They then appointed their foreman, 
that is, their president It happened to be Mr. Russell's 
turn to sit as judge : turning to the grand jury he thus 
addressed them :— " Gentlemen of the jury, an inspec- 
tion of the cases for trial shows me that forgery is on 
the increase in Calcutta : I see that there are five or sis 



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188 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

cases of that kind, and amongst them a case .against the two 
men Thakchacha and Bahulya. It appears from the deposi- 
tions in their case that they have for some years past been 
forging Company's paper at Sialdah, and selling it in this 
city. Take this case first, please, and be good enongh to 
inform me whether it is a true bill or not : it is super- 
fluous for me to bid you do your duty in examining into 
the other cases for trial." 

The grand jury, having received this charge, with- 
drew. Bancharam looked very despondently at Mr. Butler. 
After about a quarter of an hour had elapsed, the indict- 
ment against Thakchacha and Bahulya was returned to the 
court as a true bilL Thereupon the jail sentry produced 
Thakchacha and Bahulya and made them stand within the 
railed enclosure before the judge. As the petty jury 
were being empanelled, the court interpreter called out 
loudly : " Prisoners at the bar 1 you have been charged 
with forging Company's paper : have you committed this 
crime or not ? " The accused replied : " We do not even 
know what is meant by forgery, or by Company's paper : 
we are only simple cultivators : we do not concern our- 
selves with things of this kind : that is the concern of our 
JEnglish rulers." The interpreter then said rather angrily 
to them : " Your language is all very fine : have you done 
this thing or have you not ? " The only reply of the 
accused .was: "Our fathers and our grandfathers never 
did such things." The interpreter then, in a great rage 
struck the table with his fist and said : " Give an answer 
to my question: have you done this thing or not?" 
"No, we never did such a thing," the accused at last re- 
plied. The reason for putting these questions was that, if the 
accused acknowledged his crime, his trial proceeded no 
further : he was at once sentenced. The interpreter then 
said: "Attention ! These twelve men, all good and true, who 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 189 

tie seated here, will try you : if you have any objection 
to raise against any of them, then speak at once : he will 
be removed, and another man substituted.' 9 The accused, 
not understanding anything that was being said, remained 
silent, and the trial then commenced : by means of the 
depositions of the complainants, and the witnesses, the 
Crown prosecutor established a clear cade of forgery. 
The counsel for the accused did not produce any witnesses, 
but did his best, by the ingenious twistings and turnings 
of cross-examination and by the chicanery of the law, to 
mislead the jury. When the speech for the defence was 
finished, Mr. Russell gave the jury a summary of the 
proofs of the case and explained the evidence of the 
forgery. 

Having received their charge, the petty jury withdrew 
to consult. Unless the jury are unanimous, they are un- 
able to record a verdict. Bancharam seized this oppor- 
tunity to draw near the prisoners to encourage them. A 
few words had passed between them, when there was a sud- 
den stir in the court, caused by the re-entry of the jury. 
When they had all entered and taken their seats, the 
foreman stood up : there was at once silence in the court : 
all craned their necks and strained their ears to catch 
what was said. The clerk of the Crown, the chief con- 
ductor of all criminal cases in the court, put the ques- 
tion : — " Gentlemen of the jury 1 Are Thakchacha and 
Bahulya guilty or not guilty ? " " Guilty " was the reply 
of the foreman of the jury. As soon as the accused 
heard this, their hearts died within them. Bancharam 
then hurried up to them, and said : " Ha, ha ! what, 
guilty ? Put your trust in me, I am no child as you know : 
I will petition for a new trial, that is, for another verdict." 
Thakchacha only shook his head, and said : " Ah, sir ! 
what must be, must : we cannot afford any more expense." 



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100 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

Bancharjim then explained, with, some irritation, w How 
mnch do you suppose I shall make by binding leaves in 
an empty vessel? In business like this, is clay to be 
moistened by tears only ? " Mr. Russell then, examining 
his records very carefully, looked fixedly at the prisoners, * 
as he passed this sentence upon them :— " Thakchacha and 
Bahulya, your guilt has been well established, and all who 
commit such crimes as yoursj should be heavily punished : 
I sentence you therefore to transportation for life." No 
sooner was the sentence delivered then the'guards seized the 
prisoners by their hands and took them below. Bancharam 
had slipped back and was standing to one side ; some 
people remarked to him, " Is this your case that has been 
lost ? " " You might have known that, " he replied ; " let 
me never again have anything to do with so bad a one : 
I have never cared for cases like this," 



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CHAPTER XXVIII. 
A Philanthropist. 
The Vaidyabati house was enveloped in gloom : there 
was no one to superintend affairs or look after the 
maintenance of the household ; the family was in a very 
bad way, and had great difficulty even in procuring food. 
The villagers began to say amongst themselves : i€ How 
long can an embankment of sand last ? A virtuous house* 
hold js as a building of stone. n MatUaU was all this time 
an exile from home, and his companions had also vanished ; 
pothing more was heard of all their display. Great was the 
delight of Premnarayan Mozoomdar. He was sitting one 
day in the verandah of Bern Babu's house, snapping his 
fingers and singing a popular song :— 

•• The babul's sweet flower doth its petals unfold, 
44 While it swings in your ear with its colour of gold. 
" Tour talk is of silver rupees and of rice, 
" Of sweetmeats delicious, and all that is nice. " 

Inside the house, Beni Babu w&s playing on the sitar and 
devising a special song for it, in accompaniment to the 
tune of " The Champac Flower. 9 * Suddenly, Becharam 
Babu was seei* approaching ; causing great excitement 
among the children in the street, as he caught up the 
popular measure of Nara Chandri : — 

• • With dice in my hand, all prepared for the game, 
" Born into the world as a gambler I came. " 

The boys were all laughing and clapping their hands, 
find Becharam was angrily expostulating with them. When 
Jfadir Shah attacked Delhi, Mahomed Shah was absorb- 



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192 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

cd in listening ttf^music and singing ; and even when 
Nadir Shah appeared suddenly before him in the foil 
panoply of war, Mahomed Shah said not a word, and for 
a time ceased not drinking in with his ears the sweet 
nectar of song ; at last, and still not speaking a word, he 
left his throne. Not thus did Beni Babu behave upon 
the arrival of Becharam Babu ; he at once put down his 
atar y and rising quickly from his seat, courteously 
invited him to be seated. After a somewhat lengthy ex- 
change of courtesies, Becharam Babu observed : " Ah, my 
dear friend Beni, we have at last reached the end of the 
chapter ! Thakchacha has come to utter grief by his wicked 
conduct : your Matilall too, by his lack of intelligence has 
gone to the bad. Ah, my friend ! you have always told me 
some terrible misfortune is sure to happen to a boy when 
he has not been so educated from his early childhood as 
to have a cultivated intellect and a knowledge of recti- 
tude : Matilall is an instance of this. » It is a sorrowful 
subject : what more can I say ? The whole fault was 
Baburam's ; he had only the wit of a Muktar : he was 
sharp enough where trifles were in question, but blind in 
the really important concerns of life. 

Beni. — What is the good of casting reproach upon him 
by saying this all over again : it was demonstrated a long 
• time ago. When there was such an utter want of atten- 
tion in the matter of Mati's education, and no means adopt- 
ed for keeping evil companions from him, it was a fore- 
gone conclusion. u It is the Bamayana without Bam." Be 
that as it may, it is Becharam who has been the chief 
gainer*. Bakreswar has got nothing by all his importunities. 
No school-master has ever been seen with an equal capacity 
for flattering the children of the rich: the education he was 
' supposed to give was all a sham : his thoughts day and 
night were directed solely to getting gain, while appearing 



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THE SPOILT CHILD, 193 

still to the outside world to be doing a great work. Any- 
how the Vaishnava's hopes of making a good thing oat of 
Matilall were never extinguished ; like the little chatak 
bird, he rent the heavens with his cry : " Give me water ! 
give me water ! " but not even a cloudlet could he ever 
see, much less a shower. 

Premnarayan Mozoomdar. — Have you, gentlemen, no- 
thing 'else to talk about ? Have you nothing to say on 
the subject of Kavi Kankan, or of Valmiki, or of Vyasa ? 
Have you nothing to say on business ? I am tired to death 
of discussing the troubles connected with the name of Babu- 
ram. Mati has only met with the fate which so wicked a 
boy deserved : let him go to perdition : need we feel any 
anxiety on his account ? 

Meanwhile Hari, the servant, who had been busy pre- 
paring tobacco, brought a hooka, and putting it into Beni 
Babu's hands, said : — " That Babu from Eastern Bengal 
is just approaching." Beni Babu at once rose from his 
seat and saw Barada Babu approaching rather hurriedly 
with a stick in his hand. Both Beni Babu and Becharam 
Babu greeted him courteously and invited him to be 
seated. When they had enquired after each other's welfare, 
Barada Babu said : — " Now at length what has been long 
expected has come to pass. I have a request to make of 
you just now ; I have been living for a long time past at 
Vaidyabati, and for this reason it became my duty to help 
the people of the place to the best of my ability. I have 
no great wealth, it is true, but when I consider what I am, 
the Lord has given me plenty : if I were to hope for 
greater abundance, I should be. finding fault with His 
good judgment, and that is not a proper course for me to 
iake : it was iny duty to help my neighbours, but whether 
from laziness, or ill fortune, I have not discharged my duty 
thoroughly of late, 

o,so 13 



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W4 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

Bechatam. — What language is this? Why, yon* have 
assisted all the poor and afflicted people of Vaidyabati in 
a hundred different ways, with supplies of food, with cloth- 
ing, with money, with medicines, with books, with advice, 
and by your own personal exertions on their behalf. In 
no single detail have there been any shortcomings on 
your part. Why, my dear friend, they shed tears when 
they proclaim your virtues. I know all this well : why 
do you try to impose on me like this ? 

Barada. — My dear sir, it is ho imposition ; I am telling 
you the plain truth : if any have derived any help from me, 
I am humiliated when I think hqw trifling that help has 
been. However, the request I have now to make is this ; 
the families of Matilall and Thakchacha are starving ; it has 
come to my knowledge that they often have to fast for days. 
It has been a great grief to me to hear this; I have therefore 
brought two hundred rupees that I had by me, and I shall 
be exceedingly gratified if you will somehow contrive to 
have this money sent to them without revealing my name. 

Beni Babu was astounded on hearing these words, 
and Becharam Babu, after a short interval, looking to- 
wards Barada Babu, his eyes filling with tears of emotion, 
said to him, as he put his hand on his shoulder : "Ah, my 
dear friend ! you know what rectitude really is : as for 
us, we have spent our lives in vain : it is written in the 
Vedas and in the Puranas: ' The man whose mind is pure 
and upright, he shall see God.' What shall I say about 
your mind ? I have never hitherto seen even the slightest 
taint of impurity in it. God keep you in happiness ac- 
ceptable to yourself. But tell me, have you had any 
news of Eamlall lately ? 

Barada. — Some months back I received a letter from 
Jlnrdwar : he was well : he did not say anything about 
returning. •....'. 



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TOE SPOILT CHILD. 19S 

Becharam. Ramlall is a very good boy : the mere 
sight of him would refresh my eyes : he is bound to be 
good, and it has all come about by reason of his associa- 
tion with you. 

Meanwhile, Thakchacha and Bahulya had passed Saugor 
on a vessel The pair were for all the world like two 
cranes: they sat together, ate together, slept together, 
and were perfectly inseparable : their mutual woes formed 
the continual theme of Jkheir conversation. One day 
Thakchacha, with a deep sigh, said to his companion : — 
44 Our destiny is a very hard one : we have become 
mere lumps of earth : our trickery is of no further avail, 
and as for my stratagems, they have all escaped from 
my head. My house is ruined : I did not even have an 
interview with my wife before leaving : I am very much 
afraid that she • will marry again." Bahulya replied : 
44 Friend, pluck all these matters out of your heart : life 
in the world is after all but a pilgrimage : we are hero 
to-day, gone to-morrow : no one has anything he can 
call his own. You have one wife, I have four. Throw 
.everything else to the winds, consider only carefully the 
means whereby it may go well with self." The wind 
soon began to blow hard, and the ship went on her way 
with a strong list to one side. A terrible storm then 
got up. Thakchacha, trembling all over with fright, said 
to Bahulya : " Oh, my friend, I am in a terrible fright ! 
I think my death must be very near." Bahulya replied : 
44 Are we not already within an ace of death ? We are 
but ghosts of our former selves. Come, and let us go 
below, and say our prayers to Allah and his prophet : 
I have them all by heart: if we are swamped, we 
shall at any rate have the name of our patron saint 
to accompany us -on our journey." 



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CHAPTER XXIX. 
Bancharam in Possession. 

Bakchabam Babu's hunger had not yet been appeased : 
he was always looking out for the chance of a successful 
stroke, or else revolving in his mind the kind of stratagem 
it would be best for him to adopt in order to accomplish 
his wished-for object. His cunning intellect became 
keener than ever by this practice. He was one day over- 
hauling all Baburam Babu's affairs which had passed 
through his hands, when a fine plan suddenly presented 
itself to him : in the midst of his calculations, as he sat 
there propped up by a cushion, he suddenly slapped hi$ 
thigh, and exclaimed. " Ah ! at last I see before me a 
toad to a fine fortune. There is an estate in the China 
Bazar belonging to Baburam, and there is the family 
house too : they have both been mortgaged, and the limit 
of time has expired. I will speak to Herambar Babu, 
and have a complaint lodged in court, and then for a few 
days at any rate my hunger may be appeased." With 
these words, he threw his shawl over his shoulders, and 
making a visit to the Ganges the nominal excuse for his 
departure, he tramped off with a firm determination to 
succeed in his plan, or perish in the attempt. 

He soon reached Herambar Babu's house. Entering 
at the door, he enquired of a servant where the master 
of the house was. Hearing Bancharam Babu's voice 
Herambar Babu at once descended the stairs. He was 
a very open-hearted and generous man, and he always 
acceded to every suggestion made to him. Bancha- 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 19* 

ram took him by the hand and said to him very 
affectionately :— " Ha, Choudhury Mahashay ! yon once 
lent some money to Baburam npon my recommendation. 
The family and their affairs are now in a very bad way : 
the honour and reputation of his house have departed 
with Baburam : the elder boy is a perfect ape, and the 
younger a fool : they have both gone abroad. The family 
is deeply involved in debt : there aro other creditors 
all prepared to bring suits against the family, and they 
may put many difficulties in the way of a settlement : I 
can therefore no longer advise you to keep quiet. Give 
me the mortgage papers. You will have to record a com- 
plaint in our office to-morrow : kindly give us a foil 
power-of-attorney." In similar circumstances, all men 
alike would be afraid of losing their money. Herambar 
Babu was neither deceitful nor artful himself, and so the 
words which Bancharam had just spoken at once caught 
his attention : he agreed straightway, and entrusted the 
mortgage papers into Bancharam Babu's hands. As 
Hanuman, having obtained the fatal arrow of Eavan, all 
gleefully hurried away from Lanka, so Bancharam, putting 
the papers under his arm as if they had been a cherished 
charm, hurried off smilingly home. 

Nearly a year had elapsed since Matilall's departure. 
The main door of the Vaidyabati house was still close 
shut : lichen covered the roof and the walls and all 
about the place there was a dense jungle of thorns and 
prickly shrubs. Inside the house, were two helpless 
young women, Matilall's stepmother, and his wife, who 
* when it was necessary for them to go out at any time, 
used the back door only. They found the greatest 
difficulty in getting [food, and had only old clothes to 
wear. For fifteen days in the month they went without 
•food altogether. The money they had received at Beni 



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Babu's hands had all been expended in the payment 
of debts, and in defraying the cost of their living for 
some months. They were now experiencing unparalleled , 
hardships, and being utterly without resources, were in 
great anxiety. One day, Matilall's wife said to his step- 
mother : — " Ah, lady ! we cannot reckon the number of 
sins we must have committed in our other births : I am 
married, it is true, but I have never seen my husband's 
face : my lord has never once turned to look at me : he 
has never once asked whether I am alive or dead. How- 
ever bad a husband may be, it is not for a woman to re- 
proach him : I have never reproached my husband. It is 
my wretched destiny : where is his fault ? I have only 
this much to say, that the hardships which I am now suffer- 
ing would not appear hardships, if only my husband were 
, with me." Matilall s step-mother replied : " Surely there 
are none so miserable as we are : my heart breaks at the 
thought of our misery : the only resource of the helpless 
and poor is the Lord of the poor." Men-servants and 
maid-servants will only remain in service with people as 
long as they are well off. Now that these two girls had 
been reduced to their present state, their servants had all 
left them. One old woman alone remained with them out 
of pure kindness of heart : she herself managed to pick 
up a living by begging. 

The mother-in-law and daughter-in-law were engaged 
in the conversation we have recorded, when suddenly this 
old servant came to them, trembling all over, and said, 
" Oh, my mistresses, look out of the window ! Bancharam 
Babu, accompanied by a sergeant of police and some 
constables, has just . surrounded the house. On seeing 
me, he said, " Go and tell the ladies to leave the house." 
I said to him, " Sir ! And where will they go ? " Then he 
got angry, and threatened me, adding, " Do they not know 



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JBE SPOILT CHILD. 199 

that the boose is mortgaged ? Do they suppose that the 
creditor will throw his money into the Ganges ? Well, I 
am only acting upon his wish ; let them go away at once, 
or shall I have to put them out by the scuff of the neck ? " 
The two women trembled all over with fright when they 
heard this. The house was soon full of the noise made 
by the men who were breaking in the front door : a 
- crowd of people too had collected in the street. Bancha- 
; ram was ostentatiously ordering the men to hammer at the 
door, and was gesticulating and saying : " No one can pos- 
sibly prevent me from taking possession : I am not a child 
.that I can be easily trifled with : it is the order of the 
.Court : I will force an entry into the house : is a gentle- 
man who has advanced money on the house to be called 
a thief ? What wrong is being done ? Let the members 
of the family depart at once." A great crowd had now 
.collected, and some of the people were very angry, and 
exclaimed: "Ho, Bancharam ! No baser wretch exists on 
earth than you : by your counsel you have ruined thi3 
house altogether. You have had heaps of money out of 
,this family by yotfr long-continued malpractices, and now 
you are turning the household adrift : why the very sight 
of your face would render it necessary to perform the Chan- 
, drat/an penance : no place will be found for you even in 
bell." Bancharam paid no heed to their remarks ; and 
when he had at last burst in the door, he rushed into the 
. house, with the sergeant of police, and went into the 

zenana. _ 

Just at that moment, MatilalTs wife and his stepmother, 
taking hold of the hands of the old woman, and wiping 
the tears from their eyes, as they exclaimed, " Oh, Lord 
God, protect these poor helpless women !" went out of 
the house by the back door. Matilall's wife then said, 
i u Friends, we are women of good family 2 we are utterly 



ui ii jui pi m j ii ijjuui 



200 TBE SPOILT CHILD. 

ignorant : where stall we go ? Our father and all his racfe 
are gone : we have no brothers : we have no sisters t we 
have no relatives at all : who will protect us ? Oh, Lord 
God, our honour and our lives are now in Thy handg. 
Welcome death by starvation before dishonour." "When 
they had gone a few paces, they stopped beneath a banyan 
tree, and began to consider what was to be done. Just then 
Barada Babu approached them with a dooly : with bowed 
head and sorrowful face he said to them : " Ladies, do 
not be anxious : regard me as you would a son : I beg 
that you will get into this dooly at once, and go to my 
house : I have separate quarters ready for you : stay there 
for a while, until your plans are arranged." When Mati- 
lall's wife and stepmother heard these words of Barada 
Babu, they were like people just rescued from a watery 
grave. Overwhelmed with gratitude, they said : " Sir, how 
we should like to be prostrate at your feet : we have no 
words to express our gratitude to you : you must surely 
have been our father in a previous birth." Barada Babu 
hurriedly placed them in the dooly, and sent them to his 
house ; while he himself, fearing he night meet some one 
on the road who would question him, hurried home by back 
streets. * 






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CHAPTER XXX. 
Mattlall at Benares : Home Aoadt. 
A GOOD disposition is created by good advice and good 
associations : to some it comes early in life, to others later ; 
and from lock of it in early youth great harm happens. 
As a fire, when it has once caught hold of a jungle, 
blazes furiously, destroying everything in its path, or as a 
wind, when it has once got up with any force, on a sud- 
den increases in violence, and hurls down in its course 
large trees and buildings, so an evil disposition, when it 
has once been formed in childhood, gradually assumes 
fearful proportions, if roused into activity by the natural 
passions of the blood. Bad examples of this are constant- . 
ly seen ; but examples may also be seen of persons long 
given over to evil thoughts and evil ways becoming virtu- 
ous all of a sudden, quite late in life. A conversion like 
this may have its origin either in good advice or in good 
companionship. However, it occasionally happens that 
people come suddenly to their right mind ; it may be by 
chance, it may be by an accident, it may be by a mere 
word. Such conversions, however, are very rare. 
. When Matilall returned home from Jessore in despair, 
he said to his companion : '* It is evidently not my destiny 
io be rich : it is idle therefore for me to seek further for 
Jwealth. I am now going to travel for a time in the North- 
t West : will any of you accompany me ? The darling of 
.Fortune may call all men his friends : when a man has 
.wealth he has no need to summon any one to hi3 presence : 
Inuinbers will crowd to him uninvited, but a poor man 



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202 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

finds it very hard to get companions. All those "who had 
been in attendance upon Matilall had made a show of 
friendship for him because of the amusement and profit* 
they had derived ; but, as a matter of fact, they had not 
a particle of real affection for him. As soon as they saw 
that his means were exhausted, and that he was hampered 
'on all sides by debt, and that, far from being any longer 
able to maintain his old style of living, he could hardly 
keep himself, they began to ask themselves what possible 
benefit they could derive from keeping on friendly terms 
with him, — far better drop his acquaintance altogether! 
When Matilall put that question to them then, he saw at 
once that none of them would give him any answer. 
,They all hummed and hawed, and pleaded all sorts of 
excuses. Matilall was very angry at their behaviour, and 
said 2 " Adversity is the real test of friendship : at last, 
after all this time, I have got to know your real character: 
however, go to your respective homes, — I am about to pro- 
ceed on' my journey." His companions replied : "Oh, 
sir! do not be angry with us : nay, go on in advance, we 
,TRrill follow you as soon as we have settled all our affairs." 
- Matilall, paying no heed to what they said, proceeded 
-on his way on foot, and being hospitably entertained, at 
some of the places on the road, and begging his way at 
.others, he reached Benares in three months. Having 
fallen into this pitiable condition, the course of his mind 
1 began to be changed, from his long solitary meditations. 
•Temples, once built at great expense, gMts, and building's 
-of all kinds, all sooner or later begin to crumble away .: 
\sooner or later some vigorous old tree, whose great 
branches spread far and wide, is seen to decay : rivers; 
..mountains, valleys, none continue long the same. Indeed,* 
: time brings change and decay, to all alike. Everything is 
•transient ; all is vanity. .Man, too,, is subject to disease, old 



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TBE SPOILT CHILD. 203 

age, separation from friends, sorrow and troubles of every 
kind; and in this world, passion, pride, and pleasure are 
all but as drops of water. Such were Matilall's medita- 
tions, as day after day he made the circuit of Benares, 
sitting, when evening came, in some quiet spot on the 
banks of the Ganges, and meditating again and again on the 
unreality of the body, and the reality of the soul, and on 
his own character and conduct. By such a course of 
reflection, the evil passions within him became dwarfed, 
and he was roused in consequence to a sense of his former 
conduct and his present evil condition. As his mind 
took this direction, there sprang up within him a feeling 
of self-contempt, and, accompanying that self-contempt, 
deep remorse. He was always asking himself this ques- 
tion, " How can I attain salvation ? When I remember 
all the evil I have committed, my heart burns within me 
like a forest on fire." Absorbed in such thoughts, paying 
no attention to food or clothing, he went wandering about 
like one demented. 

Some time had been spent by him thus, when one day 
he chanced to see an old man sitting deep in meditation, 
under a tree, glancing at one moment at a book, and at 
the next shutting his eyes, and meditating. To look at 
the man one would at once imagine him to be a very 
learned person, and one, too, who had attained to perfect 
knowledge . and complete subjection of mind. The mere 
sight of his face would arouse a feeling of reverence in 
the mind. Matilall at once approached him, and, after 
making a most profound salutation, remained standing 
before him. After a while, the old man looked intently 
At Matilall, and said, "Ah, my child, from your appear- 
ance I should imagine that you belong to a good family ; 
but why are you so sorrowful?" .This gentle address gave 
-Matilall confidence, and he acquainted the old man with 



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«04 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

the whole story of his life, concealing nothing. " Sir," he 
&aid, " I perceive you to be a very learned man : now, and 
from henceforth, I am your humble servant : pray give 
me some good advice.'* The old man replied, " I see that 
you are hungry: we will postpone our conversation till 
you have had some food and rest." That day was spent 
in hospitality. The old man was pleased at the sight of 
MatilalTs simplicity and straightforwardness. It is a 
characteristic of human nature that there cannot be any 
frank interchange of thought amongst men where they 
receive no mutual gratification from each other's society ; 
but where there is this mutual gratification, then the 
thoughts of each man's heart are revealed in quick succes- 
sion. Moreover, when one man displays frankness, the 
other, unless he is exceedingly insincere, can never mani- 
fest insincerity. The old man was a very worthy person ; 
pleased at Matilall's fankness and sincerity, he began to 
love him as a son, and, at a later period, he expounded to 
him his own notions about the Supreme Being. He often 
used to say him : — " My son, to worship the Almighty 
with all our powers, with faith, affection, and love, is the 
main object of all virtue : meditate always on this, and 
practise it in thought, and word, and deed : when this 
advice has taken firm root the course of your mind will 
., be changed, and the practice of other virtues will natur- 
ally follow ; but to have a constant and uniform love 
of the Almighty, in thought, word, and deed, is no easy 
thing ; for, in this world, such enemies as passion, envy, 
javarice, and lust, put extraordinary obstacles in the way, 
and therefore there is every need for concentration of 
thought and steadfastness." Matilall, after receiving this 
advice, engaged every day in meditation on the Almighty, 
and in prayer, and endeavoured to examine into all his 
faults, and to correct them* As a consequence of a long- 



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TEE SPOILT CHILD. SO* 

'"Continued course of action like this, faith and devotion 
towards the Lord of the Universe sprang up in his mind* 
The honour due to good companions is beyond the power 
of words to express : pre-eminent amongst the virtuous 
stood MatilalFs instructor ; was it then in any way astonish- 
ing that Matilall's mind should have so changed from asso- 
ciation with such a man? A feeling of brotherly kindness 
towards all men developed itself in the mind of Matilall 
as one consequence of his very great faith in God, and 
then, in quick succession, a feeling of affection for his 
parents, and for his wife, and a desire to alleviate the sor- 
rows of others, and to confer benefits upon others, grew 
in intensity. To see or hear anything opposed to truth and 
sincerity made him intensely unhappy. He would often 
tell the old man the thoughts that were passing in his mind, 
and his former history ; and he would sometimes say in a 
mournful tone, " Oh, n>y teacher ! I am very wicked : 
when I think of what my behaviour has been towards my 
father, my mother, my brother, my sister, and others, I 
sometimes think that no place can be found for me even 
in hell." The old man would console him by saying, "My 
child, devote yourself to the practise of virtue at any cost s 
men are constantly sinning in thought, in word, and in 
deed :• our only hope of salvation is the mercy of Him who 
is all mercy : the man who displays heartfelt grief for his 
sins, and who is sincerely zealous for the purification of his 
soul, can never be destroyed." Matilall would listen atten- 
tively, and meditate with bowed head upon all he heard. 
Sometimes he would exclaim, " My mother, my step- 
mother, or my sister, my brother, my wife, where are. 
they all? My mind is exceedingly anxious on their 
account." 

.. It was a day at the commencement of the autumn 
season ; the time was the early dawn. Who can give 



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206 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

Expression to the amazing beauty of Brindabun ? Palms 
and trees of every kind flourished everywhere in abund- 
ance ; thousands of birds were singing in every variety 
of note, perched on their branches. The waves of the 
Jumna, as if in merry play, embraced its banks. The boys 
and girls of Brindabun, in arbours and in the roads, were 
playing their sitars, and singing as they played. The 
night had come to an end, and all the temples, now that 
the hour for Waving the lamps before the shrines had come, 
resounded with the hoarse murmur of tens of thousands 
of conch shells, and with the clanging of innumerable 
bells, shoals of tortoises played around the Kashi . Ghat : 
hundreds of thousands of monkeys were leaping and jump- 
ing about on the trees, now curling their tails, now stretch- 
ing them out, and now and again plunging headlong 
down with hideous grimaces, and carrying off some poor 
people's stores of food. Hundreds of pilgrims were 
wandering about the different groves, and as they gazed 
on the different objects of interest, were talking about the 
sports of Sri Krishna. As the sun grew hot, the earth 
got baked with the heat ; it became irksome to walk about 
any longer on foot, and the majority of the pilgrims sat 
about under the shade of the trees, and rested. ^ 

MatilalTs mother had been wandering about holding 
her daughter by the hand ; soon .overcome with fatigue, 
she lay down in a quiet spot with her head in her daugh- 
ter's lap. % The girl fanned and cooled her wearied mother 
with the border of her sari. The mother, feeling at length 
"somewhat refreshed, said to her, " Pramada, my child, 
take a little rest yourself. Now I will sit up awhile." 
'" Now that your fatigue is removed, mother, " said the 
girl, "mine also has gone : continue lying down, and 
I will shampoo your feet." Tears rose in the mother's 
eyes as she heard her daughter's affectionate address,, and 



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THE SPOILT CHILD: »>r 

she said, M My child, the mere sight of your face has 
revived me. How many mast be the sins that I com- 
mitted in my other births, or why should I be experi- 
encing this grief ? It is no pain to me that I should my- 
self be dying of starvation : my great sorrow is that I 
have not the wherewithal to give you even a morsel of 
food : the world is too small to contain such sorrow as 
mine. My two sons, where are they ? I know not what 
has become of them. My daughter-in-law, how is she ? 
Why did I display such anger ? Matilail struck me, 
he actually struck me, his mother ! My soul, too, is in 
constant anxiety on 'Randall's account, as well as on 
MatilalPs. " The girl, wiping away her mother's tears, 
tried to console her ; after a while, her mother went 
to sleep, and the girl, seeing her asleep, sat perfectly 
motionless, gently fanning her : though mosquitoes and 
gadflies settled on her person, and annoyed her with 
their bites, she moved not for fear of interrupting 
her mother's sleep. A marvellous thing is the love and 
endurance of women ? Herein are they far superior 
to men. The girl's mother dreamt in her sleep that a 
youth clothed in yellow came near her, and said, " Lady, 
weep no more ! You are virtuous : you have warded off 
sorrow from many of the afflicted poor : you have never 
done anything but good to any : all will soon be well 
"with you : you will find your two sons and be happy again." 
The sorrowful woman started out of her sleep, and, on 
opening her eyes, saw. only her daughter near her ; 
without speaking a word to her she took her by the 
hand, and they returned in great trouble to their hut of 
•leaves. The nlother and daughter were constantly con- 
versing together : one day the mother said to her daughter, 
" My child, my mind is very restless : I cannot help think- 
ing that I ought to return home." Not seeing her way 



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20* THE SPOILT CHILD. 

to that, the girl replied, "But mother, we have amongst 
our stock of supplies but one or two cloths, and a brass 
drinking vessel : what can we get by the sale of these ? 
Remain here quietly for a few days, while I earn soma* 
thing as a cook, or as a maid-servant somewhere, and then 
we shall have got something together to defray the ex- 
penses of our journey." The girl's mother at these words 
sighed heavily, and remained motionless : she could re- 
strain her tears no longer : seeing her distressed, the girl 
was distressed also. 

As luck would have it, a resident of Mathura, who 
lived near them, and who was constantly doing them small 
kindnesses, came up at that moment : seeing them in 
• such sorrow, she first consoled them, and then listened to 
their story : the woman of Mathura, sorrowing in their 
sorrow, said to them, " Ladies, what shall I say? I have 
no money myself I should like to alleviate your distress 
hy giving you all I possess : let me now tell you of a 
plan you had better adopt : I have heard that a Bengali 
Babu has come to live at Mathura, who has amassed a 
fortune in service, and by making advances to agriculture 
ists : I have heard, too, that he is very kind and liberal : 
if you go to him, and ask for your travelling expenses, 
you will certainly get them." As the two distressed 
women could see no other resource open to them, they 
agreed to adopt the plan proposed ; so they took their 
leave of the woman of Mathura, and reached Mathura 
in about two days. 

On arrival there, they went to the vicinity of a tank, 
where they found collected together the afflicted, the 
blind, the lame, the sorrowful and the poor, all in tears. 
The girl's mother said to an old woman amongst them : 
"My friend, why are you all in tears"? "Ah, mother!" 
replied the woman, " there is a certain Babu here ; words 



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TUE SPOILT CHILD. 209 






!' 



i : 



fail me to tell of his virtues : he goes about among the 1 1 

homes of the poor and afflicted, and is continually attend- 
ing to their wants, supplying them with food and clothing, 
and, moreover, he watches by the bedside of the sick at 
night, administering medicines and proper diet. He 
sympathises with us in all our joys and all our sorrows. 
Tears come into my eyes at the mere thought of the Babu's 
virtues. Blessed is the woman who has borne such a child 
in her womb : she is certainly destined for the joys of 
heaven. The place where such a one lives is holy ground. 
It is our miserable destiny that this Babu is just leaving % 

the country : our tears are flowing at the thought of what 
our condition will be when he has gone." The two 
women, hearing this, said to each other : " All our hopes 
appear to be fruitless : sorrow is our destined lot. Who 
can rub the writing off our foreheads ? " Seeing their de- 
spondency, the old woman already mentioned said to them, 
" I fancy you are ladies of good family who have fallen 
into misfortune : if you are in want of money, then come j 

with me at once to the Babu, for he assists many persons 
of good family as w^ll as the poor." The two women at 
once agreed to this, and following the old woman they 
remained outside, while she entered the house. 
* The day was drawing to a close : the rays of the set- 
ting sun gave a golden tinge to the trees and to the tanks. 
Near where the two women were standing was a small 
walled garden, in which every variety of creeper was 
growing, carefully trained on trellis work : the turf in it 
was nicely kep£, and at intervals raised platforms had 
been erected to serve as seats. Two gentlemen were 
walking about in this garden, hand in hand, like Krishna 
and Arjuna ; as their gaze chanced to fall upon the two 
women outside, they hurried out of the garden to meet 
them. The two women, out of confusion, veiled their 
o, sc 14 

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210 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

feces and drew a little to one side. Then the younger of 
the two men said to them in a gentle tone : " Regard ns 
as your sons : do not be ashamed : tell us fully the reason 
of your coming here : and if any assistance can be rendered 
by us, we will not fail to render it." Hearing these words, 
the mother, taking hfcr daughter by the hand, moved for- 
*ward a little, and briefly informed them of the plight they 

. were in. Even before she had finished telling her story, 
the two men looked at each other, and the younger of them, 
in the enthusiasm of his joy, fell to the ground, exclaim- 
ing, "My mother! my mother t" The other, and the 
elder of the two, made a profound obeisance to the sorrow- 
ful mother, and, with his hands humbly folded, said, '* Dear 
lady, look, look ! He who has fallen to the ground is 

. your precious one, your treasure : he is your Bam ! and 
my name is Barada Prasad Biswas." When she heard 
this, the mother unveiled her face, and said : " Oh, dear 
sir, what is this that you are saying ? Shall such a des- 
tiny as this befall so miserable a wretch as I am ?" On 
coming to himself, Bamlall bowed down to the earth 
before his mother, and remained motionless. Taking her 
son's head into her bosom and weeping the while, his 
mother poured the cool waters of consolation over his 
heated mind ; and his sister, with the edge of her sari, 
wiped away his tears and the dust that had collected on 
liim, and remained still anjj silent. 

By-and-by the old woman, not finding the Babu in the 
house, came running into the garden, and when she saw 
him lying on the ground with his head in the lap of the 
-elder of the two women, she screamed out : " Dear me, 
.what is the matter ? Oh dear ! Oh dear ! Is the Babu ill ? 
Shall I go and fetch a Kabiraj?" Barada Prasad Babu said to 
her, * Be quiet, the Babu has not been taken ill : these two 

» women that you see are the Babu'st mother and his sister." 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 211 

u OH Babu ! " exclaimed the old woman, " Mast you make 
fun of me because I am a poor old woman ? Why, the Babu 
is a very rich man : is he not the chosen lord of Lakshmi ? 
and these two women are but poor tramps : they came with 
me. How can one be his mother, and the other his sister? 
I rather fancy they are witches from Kamikhya who .have 
deceived you by their magical arts. Oh, dear ! I have 
never seen such women. I humbly salute their magic." 
And the old woman went away in high dudgeon, mutter- 
ing to herself. 

Having recovered their composure, they all went into 
the house, and great was the satisfaction of the mother 
when she found Mati's wife and her own co-wife there. 
Having received full particulars of all the other members 
of her family she said : " Ah, my son, Ram ! come, let us 
now return home : as for my Mati, I do not know what has 
become of him, and I am very anxious on his account." 
Ramlall had been already prepared to return home: he 
had a boat, and everything ready at the ghdt. Having, in 
accordance with his mother's instructions, ascertained an 
auspicious day for the journey, he took them all with him, 
and prepared to depart. The people of Mathura all 
thronged round him at the time of his departure : thousands 
of eyes filled with tears : from thousands of mouths issued 
songs in celebration of Randall's virtues : and thousands of 
hands were uplifted in blessing. As for the old woman, 
who had gone away in stlch dudgeon, she drew near Ram- 
lall's mother, with her hands humbly folded, and wept. 
All remained standing on the banks of the river Jumna, 
like so many lifeless and inanimate beings, until the boat 
had passed away out of their sight. As the current was 
running down^ and the wind was not blowing strong from 
the south, the boat glided quickly down, and they all reached 
Benares in a few days. 



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212 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

i 
. Early morning in Benares ! Oh the beauty of the scene ! 
There in their thousands were Brahmans of two Vedas, 
and Brahmans of four Vedas, worshippers of Ram, worship- 
pers of Vishnn, worshippers of Shiva, followers of Shakti, 
worshippers of Ganesh, religious devotees and Brahman 
. students, all devoutly engaged in reciting their hymns and 
prayers. There too in their thousands were men reciting 
portions of the Samvedas, and hymns to Agni and Vaya : 
crowds of women, hailing from Surat, from the Mahratta 
country, from Bengal, and from Behar, all clothed in silk 
garments of various hues, were engaged in perambulating 
* the temples after due performance of their ablutions : be- 
yond calculation in number were the temples sweetly per- 
fumed with the odours of aromatic tapers, of incense, of 
flowers, and of sandal. Devotees in countless numbers 
crowded the streets puffing their cheeks, and shaking their 
sides, as they shouted aloud in enthusiasm: "Oh, Maha- 
deva ! Lord of the Universe I " Women, devotees of Shiva, 
carrying tridents in their hands, and wearing scarlet rai- 
pient, were perambulating in their hundreds, about the 
temple of Shiva, engaged in their devotions to Shiva and 
- ' . Durga, and laughing madly the while. Ascetics there were 
in great numbers, who striving hard to subdue their bodies, 
and their passions, sat solitary with their hands uplifted, hair 
all matted, and bodies covered with ashes. There, too, in 
countless numbers, were religious devotees, each sitting 
apart by himself in some secluded corner, engaged in various 
piystic ceremonies, now emitting their breath, now holding 
it in : musicians and singers with their lutes and their 
i| tabors, their violins and their guitars, were there in great 

numbers, all completely absorbed in every variety of tone 
and tune. 

Ramlall and his companions remained four days in 
Benares, bathing and performing other ceremonies at the 



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THE SPOILT CUILD. 213 

Hani Karnika Ghat He was always with his mother and 
sister, and in the evening he used to roam about with Barada 
, Babu. One day, in the course of their walks, they saw a 
beautiful pavilion before them. An old man was sitting 
inside gazing at the beauty of the Bhagirathi: the river was 
flowing swiftly by, its waters rippling and murmuring 
in their course ; and so transparently clear was it that it 
seemed to bear on its bosom the many-hued evening sky 
On the approach of Ramlall, the old man addressing him 
as an old acquaintance said : "What was your opinion of the 
Opanishad of Shuka when you read it?" Ramlall looked 
intently at the old man, and saluted him respectfully. 
The old man a little disconcerted said to him : *' Sir, 
I perceive I have made a mistake : I have a pupil whose 
face is exactly like yours. I mistook you for him when I 
addressed you." Ramlall and Barada Babu then sat 
down beside the old man and began to converse on a 
variety of topics connected with the Shastras. Mean- 
while a person with a somewhat anxious expression of 
countenance came and sat beside them, keeping his head 
down. Barada Babu, gazing intently at him, exclaimed : 
u Ram I Ram ! do you not see ? It is your elder brother 
sitting by you." On hearing these words, Randall's hair 
sfood on end with astonishment, and he looked at Matilall, 
Matilall, looking at Ramlall, suddenly started up, and 
embraced him : and remaining for some time motionless, he 
said : u Oh, my brother ! will you forgive me ? " and then' 
winding his arms round his younger brother's neck, he 
bathed his shoulders in his tears. For some time both re- 
mained silent: no words issued from their mouths, and they 
began to realise the real meaning of the word * brother.' 
Then Matilall, prostrating himself at the feet of Barada 
Babu and, aking the dust off his feet, said, as he humbly 
folded his hands : " Honoured sir, now at length I have 



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214 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

come to know your real worth: forgive me, worthless wretch 
that I am." Barada Babu, taking the two brothers by the 
hand, then took leave of the old man, and they all proceed- ' 
ed on their way, each in turn telling his story as they went. 
When Barada Babu, after a long converse, perceived the 
change that had taken place in Matilall's mind, his delight 
knew no bounds. On coming to where the other mem- 
bers of his family were, Matilall, while still some distance 
off, exclaimed with a loud voice : " Oh, mother, mother, 
where are you ? Tour wicked son has returned to you : he 
is now alive and well, he is not dead : ah, mother! consider- 
ing what my behaviour towards you has been, I do not wish 
to 9how you my face ; it is my wish to see your feet only 
just once before I die." On hearing these words, his 
mother approached with cheerful mind, and tearful eyes, 
and found priceless wealth in gazing on her eldest son's 
face. Matilall at once fell prostrate at her feet : his mother 
then raised him up, and as she wiped away his tears with 
the border of her sari said : " Oh, Mati, your stepmother, 
your sister, and your wife are all here : come and see them 
at once." After greeting his stepmother and sister, Matilall, 
seeing his wife, wept at the remembrance of his previous 
history, and exclaimed : " Oh my mother, I have been as 
had a husband as I have been a son and a brother. I am 
in no way worthy of so estimable a wife : a man and 
woman, at the time of marriage, take a form of oath 
• before the Almighty that they will love each other as 
" long as life lasts, and that they will never forsake each 
other, even though they may fall into great trouble; the 
wife,, too, that she will never turn her thoughts to another 
man, and the husband that he will never think of another 
woman, as in such thoughts there is grievous sin. I have 
acted in numberless ways contrary to this oath : how is it 
• then that I have not been deserted by my wife ? Such a 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 21* 

brother and a sister as I have too ! I hare done them an 
irreparable injury. And such a mother ! than whom a man 
can have no more priceless possession on earth. Ah, mother, 
I have given you endless trouble. I, your son, actually 
struck you ! What atonement can there be for all these sins? 
If I were only to die at this moment I might find deliverance 
from the fire that is burning within me, but I almost think 
that death has been the cause of its own death ; for I see 
no sign of disease even, the messenger of death. How- 
ever, do you now all of you return home. I will remain 
with my teacher in this city, and depart this life in the 
practice of stern austerities." After this Barada Babu, 
Ramlall, and his mother, summoned to them Matilall's 
spiritual teacher, and explained matters to him at length, 
and then took Matilall away with them. 

While their boat was tied up to the shore at nightfall, 
off Monghyr, some one, resembling a boy in form, came 
close up to the boat, and raising himself up called out : 
" There is a light, there is a light" Seeing this peculiar 
behaviour, Barada Babu, bidding them all to be very care- 
ful, got on to the deck of the cabin, and saw about twenty 
or thirty armed men in ambush in the jungle, all ready 
to attack as soon as they should get the signal. Ramlall 
and Barada Babu got their guns out at onoe, and began 
firing: at the sound of the firing, the dacoits withdrew 
into the jungle. Barada Babu and Ramlall were eager 
to follow them up with swords and apprehend them, and 
give them in charge to the neighbouring inspector of 
police, but their families forbade it. When Matilall saw 
what had happened he said: "My training has been bad in 
every way * I have been utterly ruined by my life of luxury. 
I used to laugh at Ramlall when he was practising gym- 
nastics, but now I recognise that without manly exercise 
.from one's boyhood courage cannot exist. I was in a 



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216 TUE SPOILT CHILD. 

terrible fright just now, and if it had not been for Ramlall 
and Barada Babu we should all have been killed." 

In a few days they all arrived at Vaidyabati, and 
proceeded to Barada Babu's house. Hearing of the re- 
turn of Barada Babu and Ramlall, the villagers came 
from all parts to see them : joy uprose in the minds of all, 
and their faces beamed with delight: and all, eager for 
their welfare, showered down upon them prayers and 
flowers of blessing. On the following day, Herambar 
Chandra Chaudhuri Babu came, and said to Ramlall: 
44 Ram Babu ! without understanding the full circum- 
stances of the case, and acting on Bancharam Babu's 
advice, I have obtained possession of your family house : 
lam really sorry that I should have entered into possession, 
and so driven away the members of your family : take up 
your abode there, whenever it suits your good pleasure." 
To this Ramlall replied : "I am exceedingly obliged to 
you : and if it is really your wish to give me the house 
back, we shall be under an obligation to you if you will 
accept your legitimate claims." Upon Herambar Babu 
agreeing to this proposal, Ramlall at once paid the money 
out of his own pocket, and drew up a deed in the name 
df the two brothers, and then, accompanied by the other 
members of the family, returned to the family house ; 
raising his eye to heaven, and with heartfelt gratitude, 
he exclaimed: " Lord of the world, nothing is impossible 
with Thee." 

Soon after this Ramlall married, and the two brothers 
passed their lives very happily, striving, with exceeding 
affection, to promote the happiness of their mother and 
the other members of their family. Under the favour of 
Durga, the granter of boons, Barada Babu went on 
special employment to Badaraganj. Becharam Babu, 
becoming by the sale of his property the true Becharam, . 



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THE SPOILT CHILD. 

went to live at Benares. Beni Babu, who had been for 
some time the independent gentleman without much train- 
ing, turned his attention to the practice of law. Bancha- 
ram Babu, after a long course of trickery and chicauery, 
W113 at length killed by lightning. Bakreswar went 
roaming about, making nothing for all his obsequious 
flattery. Thakchacha and Bahulya, transported for life 
to the Andamans for forgery, were set to hard labour, 
chained hand and foot, and at length died after enduring 
unparalleled sufferings. The wife of Thakchacha, being 
left without resources, roamed about the lanes singing the 
song of her craft as a seller of glass bracelets : — 

** Bracelets, fine bracelets have I. 
Come and bny, come and buy t " 

Haladhar, Gadadhar, and the rest of MatilalFs old boon 
companions, seeing Matilall's altered character, looked out 
for another leader. Mr. John, after his bankruptcy, com- 
menced business again as a broker. Premnarayan Mozoom- 
dar assumed the distinctive dress of a religious mendicant, 
and roamed about Nuddea, shouting out : 

. •• To faith alone *ti* given below 
Mahadev's secret mind to know.** 

The husband of Pramada having accepted many hand* 

in marriage in different places, becoming at length himself 

empty-handed, came to Vaidyabati, and lived at the 

expense of his brothers-in-law, indulging, to his utmost 

bent, in every variety of sweetmeat pleasant to the taste. 

All that happened afterwards must be left to be related 

hereafter. 

•*Thns my story ends : 

The Natija thorn withereth: * 

__-■■■/' finis. 



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NOTES. 

Page. 

2. Rutins. — Mr. Phillips, in a note to his excellent translation of 

" Kopal Kundala," says :— 
* Large soma are paid by fathers of girls for Ktrlin bride- 
grooms. A Kulin Brahmin girl, to preserve her caste and 
social positiou intact, mnst be married to a Kulin bride- 
groom. So it happens that Kulin youths are sometimes 
married to ten or twenty different wives. They can visit 
the houses of their numerous fathers-in-law, and are not 
only well entertained when there, but expect a present on 
coming away. There have been cases in which poor fathers 
of Kulin girls have taken them and had them wedded to 
old men on the point of death. They cannot afford to pay 
for a young and suitable bridegroom, and it is an indelible 
disgrace for tbiir daughters to remain unmarried. On the 
other hand, Brahmins of lower family have to pay for a 
bride. The state of things is not so bad as it used to be. 
r The feeling of the upper classes of Hindoos is strongly in 
favour of monogamy, and a Kulin who marries many wives 
is regarded with some contempt and aversion." 

3. Literally — " He has drank down Mother Saraswati at one gulp." 
4* " When a Hindu boy is first initiated into school life, he is 

presented with a piece of chalk, a tal leaf and a plantain 
leaf"— Bose— "The Hindoos as they Are." 
5. The bracelet on the right hand is one of the signs that a 
woman is married, and that her husband is still living ; 
another sign is a mark on the forehead called the 'sindhu.' 
10. Sakhuhamvad—" Songs expressive of news conveyed to Krishna 
- by Brinda, one of the Gopis, of the pangs of separation felt 
by the milkmaids of Brindabuu"— Bose's — "The Hindoos 
as they Are.* 



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P 255 " THE SPOILT CHILD. 

P*ge 

18. The Shnlgram. — A flinty stone with the impression* of an am- 
monite, which Hindoos think represents Visunu : it is wor- 
shipped as Vishuu. Some Hindoos make large collections : 
one man was reputed to possess a collection of nearly eighty 
thoosaud. / 

18. LiteralUj — " Has cot a fine canal, and brought all the waters 
upon us." - 

21. The cat watching for a mouse, the heron and paddy birds for 
-fisfo, are all alike regarded as types of hypocritical saintli- 
. ness, and as such are largely used as figures in Sanscrit and 

Bengali literature. 
' A field of beguns w is a popular expression for a source of 
continual profit, as ' a field of roots ' is used for a temporary 
source of profit. - 

31. Lifrralty — c « He had a big heavy hand : n the opposite phrase 
used of a generous man is — "His hand is always turned 
palm upward. " 

83. The veneration with which Hindoos regard Benares is ex- 
pressed iu the Sajiscrit sloka :— " The heaps of your sins will 
all be burnt to ashes if you only name the name of Kashi." 
All orthodox Hindus in their inmost hearts, look forward to 
spending the evening of their days, if possible, in "the 
Holy City,'* where, after having passed the two periods of 
their lives in the world as students and householders, they 
may pass the last as ascetics, in reading and meditation. 

35. Gambliug has always been popular in the East, and was evi- 
dently so amongst the ancient Aryaus. In a translation 
of Kaegi'8 Rigveda, by Arrowsmith, there is a song called 
"The Song of the Gambler." 

37. Hie favourite expression of Banchararo, which occurs often 
iu this book, means literally: " Is this a cake iu the hands of 
a small child?" The idea being that a cake is easily snatched 
out of the hand of a child. 

49. Literally — " Many undertakings getting as far as the * h * 
turu hack when just short of the 'Ksha'." In some old 
grammars Ksha, instead of being the first of the compound 

^ eousonants, as now, was put as the last of the simple con- 

sonants. 



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ftge. 

54. An old Aryan proverb corresponding to this is : " Even an 
ugly man may be found beautiful, when he is rich." 

57. The following vivid description of a nor*wester, as the storms 
so common in Bengal in the hot season are called, occurs in 
Mr. Yaughan's tt The Trident, The Crescent, and The Cross." 
M For days, it may be for weeks, the sky has been burdened 
with clouds charged with the needful watery stores. 
Millions of longing eyes have watched their shifting course 
and changing forms. Ever and anon it has seemed as if their 
refreshing streams were about to descend, but, as if pent 
up, and restrained by an invisible hand, the clouds have re- 
fused to pour down the desired blessing: at length one point 
of the -sky gathers darkness : a deep inky hue spreads over 
one-half the heavens : the wild birds begin to shriek and be- 
take themselves to shelter : for a few moments an ominous 
death-like calm seems to reign : Nature appears to be 
listeuing in awful expectancy of the coming outburst : in 
auother iustant a dazzling flash of lightning is seen, followed 
by terrific rolls of thunder : a hurricane sweeps across the 
plaius: sometimes uprooting massive trees in its course, 
and darkening the air with clouds of sand aud dust : a 
deadly conflict seems to rage amongst the elements : the 
lightning is more brilliant : the crashes of the thunder more 
awful : yet the rain does not come. But the strife does not 
last long. Now isolated big drops begin to fall : then tor- 
rents of water pour down from the bursting clouds : 
driven along the wings of the storm, the rain sometimes 
appears like drifting cataracts, or oblique sheets of water. 
Speedily parched fields are inundated, and empty rivers 
swollen. All this takes place in less than an hour : then 
the storm abates, the darkness passes away, the sun once 
more shines forth : the atmosphere is cooled and purified, 
- thirsty Nature is satisfied, and all creation seems to 
rejoice." 

59. Before court-fee stamps came into use, attorneys were per- 
sonally liable for fees payable to the court, and in default 
of payment they were punished with suspension. 

61. The name given to a continuous supply of Ohi dropping 
through seven courses at certain of the Hindoo ceremonies, 



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222 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

Page, 

such as a child's first eating rice, at investiture with the 
sacred thread, and at marriage. 
70. On one night in the month of Phalgun a lamp is kept burning 
in all Hindoo households, and if it is extinguished misfor- 
tunes are expected to happen. 
70. The fear that a Hindoo feels lest he shall have no one to 
offer the customary libations to his maues and those of his 
ancestors is expressed in " Sakuntala." King Dushyanta 
•ays: — 

•• No son remains in King Dushyanta' s place 
To offer sacred homage to the dead 
Of Puras' noble line : my ancestors 
Must drink these glistening tears the last libation 
A childless man can ever hope to make them." . 

Sir M. Monier- William's Translation. 

74. A local name for Durga : most towns in Bengal have some 
local deity representing Durga: at Krishnaghur the local 
deity is Ananda Maye. . 

* 74. Literally—" Were performing the thraddha of Vedavyasa," 
the reputed author of the Mahabkarata. 
60. It was no uncommon thing formerly at great men's houses 
for uninvited guests to attend in some numbers, solely for 
•' the purpose of creating a disturbance/ 
" 80. One of the preliminary ceremonies of a Hindoo marriage, is 
for the bridegroom elect to put a thread on his right hand, 
on the day preceding the night of the marriage (a Hindoo 
marriage cannot take place before the evening twilight). 
81. Kankan was the name of a Bengali poet : this name is assumed 
for the nonce by the poetaster. 

93. Frahlad is ever a favourite with Hindoos : his story is 'told 

in the Vishnu Purana : there is a capital ballad on him in 
MissToru Dutt's " Ballads # of Hindustan." The story of 
Prahlad has been supposed to point to the gradual absorp- 
'. ' -. tion into the Hindu system of the aboriginal tribes. The 
resistance long offered to that absorption, is supposed to be 
hinted at in the treatment of Prasad by his Daitya parents. 

94. Kepetitions of the name of Hari, or Vishnu, made with the 

beads of the Tulsi plant : the rosaries are of different 
1 



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NOTES. »3 

Bsge. 

lengths : the common one consists of 108 beads : a pandit 
once told me he had seen one of 100,000 beads. , 

99. Literally — ••They see all round them only the yellow flower 
of the mustard plant n — a man at the point of death being 
supposed to see everything with a yellow tinge upon it. 
101. Literally— "To lose his drinking pot, and all for a cowrie " — 
the pot being either of block- tin, or of silver for holding 
drinking water, and carried by every Mussulmau, and largely 
by Hindoos when moviug about. 
10L The Kabiraj means that the sick man should be taken to the 
banks of the Ganges, that he might die happily with his 
feet in the water. People are ofteu taken to the river bank 
when very ill, and left in a s uall hut, which will be erected 
for them there, where, if they are rich enough to afford it, 
a Pandit is engaged to watch the pulse ; aud when the pulse 
becomes so feeble as to show death to be at hand, the 
'Brahmin in atten lance takes the sick person to the river 
and places the feet in the water : the sick person will then die 
happy in the full assurance of salvation. Death is often 
actually hastened by the zeal with which the relatives of 
sick persons hurry them to the river-side, or, if they are too 
far from a river, outside the house, for it is regarded as an 
' happy augury if the sick man dies being able to think of the 
sacred waters or even speak of them with his latest breath. 
Indeed the phrase ; 'He died conscious' is practically equi- 
valent to, 'He died happy, in the full assurance of salvation. 9 
Benares is regarded as so holy a place to die in that conscious- 
ness at death is not regarded as a sine qua non of a. happy 
death : the mere fact of dying in Benares is of itself suffi- 
cient to ensure the feeling of happiness and assurance. 
109. An evil spirit is supposed to depart in a eirUh seed thrown 

over the shoulder. 
113. "He is utterly unscrupulous : " literally — "His orthodoxy 

is killing cows and making presents of shoes." 
124. The wooden frame is here referred to in which the heads of 
goats are put to be cut off with one stroke of the broad 
sacrificial knife, with the eye of Kali on it, used for the 
purpose ; the literal word is "The Bone Cutter." 
124. Stri'Achar.—The name given to certain ceremonies which are 



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224 { TflS SPOILT' CHILD. 

Page- 
gone through amongst the women of a household where a 
marriage is being celebrated, the object being to promote 
conjugal felicity : one of the ceremonies consists in the 
ladies of the' family taking pan and betel iu their hands 
and offering up prayers for the welfare of the bridegroom. 

125. Bam Prasad was a popular poet who flourished at the same 

time as Bharat Chandra Baya, who was one of Maharajah 
♦Kiaben Chandra's "Five Jewels.* Maharajah KishenChandra 
was Maharajah of Nuddea at the time of Lord Clive : he 
was a Sanscrit scholar, and a great patron of learning. 

126. Literally — "Before he had got as far as the initial mystic 

salutation to Ganesh, the sacred Oni." All business is com- 
menced with this mystic invocation : it is written at the top 
of letters in the form of a crescent with a dot in the centre. 

129. For an explanation of this, see note 30. 

130. These questions were simply put to see if the patient was 

still conscious — see note 30. 

130. To die conscious in the full possession of all his faculties is 
regarded as of supreme importance with a Hindoo, and as 
ensuring a happy hereafter ; even though a Hindoo may not 
V- *. be dying in the waters of the sacred Ganges, if he is able to 
ask the question as he dies — " Is this the Ganges that I 
am dying in?" 'tis enough : the priest in attendance will 
v Beply :" It is the Ganges." 

132. A place supposed to be famous for witchcraft. Some say it is 
an old name for Assam. 

137. One of the features of a shraddha ceremony is the assembly 

of Pandits, who engage in a dispute more or less factitious, 
in the course of which a point arises when they all get so 
excited that they almost come to actual fisticuffs ; an 
arbitrator then steps forward, and the excitement subsides 
as suddenly as it had arisen. 

138. The point in the supposed argument is to create amusement 

amongst the by-standers by the difference in pronunciation 
of certain words by Pandits from different districts. The 
whole sentence is a jumble of more or less nonsense, design- 
ed to give the speakers credit with the audience for great 
learning. The ordinary arguments for discussion amongst 
Pandits who are adepts in the Nyaya Philosophy as taught 



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J90TES 225 

P*g«* 

in the Nuddea schools are on the difference between objects 
perceived by the Senses and those perceived by the Intel- 
lect : it is Gnan versa* Vidya. The discussion here is a 
humorous travesty. 

141. Tales from the Mahabharat and the Ramayan form almost 
the entire mental food of Bengal children. 

141. Jagat Sett was the famous banker of the Nawab Nazims of 
. • Bengal. 

141. The reference is to a story how each drop of blood as it fell 
from the Demon Baktabij produced a new demon, and how 
Debi and her companions put their tongues out and licked 
up the blood. 

144. The reference is to an old story about a joint-family : there 

were four sons-in-law in the family of whom Dbanan jayaa 
was one. Efforts were constantly made to annoy them to 
get them to leave, and three went because their feelings were 
offended. Dhananjayas would not go until he was actually 

beaten. 
. 144. It is a very common practice in India to give earnest-money 
in advance, when making any arrangement with a small 
tradesman ; it is commonly asked for with the excuse of 
buying materials, but the idea really is that of binding or 
closing a bargain. 

145. This proverb practically means that gentlemen are doing 

menial acts, while beggars are riding on horseback. 

146. " Seven " seems a favourite number when reference is made 

to wealth. "The Wealth of Seven Kings" is a favourite 
1 m expression in Bengali Fairy Tales. 

"Ten" in Bengali seems to be used for the whole world, as 

"Five" in Sanskrit. 
Dash Jan — " Ten people " in Bengali means everybody. 

147. It is regarded as of evil omen to call a man back when he has 
. just started anywhere. 

151. The indigenous village schools used to be noted for the 
severity of discipline in vogue there : various stories are 
told of the ingenuity of the village school-masters in de- 
vising ever-fresh punishment. One punishment was adopt- 
ed from the illustrations of Bala Krishna, who is generally 
represented as kneeling on one knee, holding something in 
O, 8C 15 



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2-26 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

Page. 

his right hand, and something on hTs head ; the poor boy 
who was to be punished was made to kneel on one knee, and 
hold a brick in his upturned hand. 

155. Literally— "Day and night there were cries of 'Let us eat,' 

' liet us eat ' — To-day we will eat the elephants out of the 
. elephant stables, and to-morrow the horses out of their 
stalls." 
The reference is to the popular stories current in Bengal about 
the Eahkashas and Rakskashts, the ogres and ogresses of 
our English childhood. 

156. Literally—" Day and night are still with us." -— The idea 

seems to be that the Universe is still in its place, and that 
there is still justice in the earth; the popular tradition 
apparently being that justice is gradually disappearing 
from the earth. 

157. The reference is to a rich merchant, who, having on one of 

his journeys seen Durga sitting in the form of a woman on a 
lotus, in the sea off Ceylon, was punished -with solitary con- 
finement for some time ; he was at length released through 
^ * his son's efforts and returned home with all his wealth. 

164, Literally — "Their luck is a covering of leaves," — the idea 

being th*t as leaves are easily blown about, so any slight 
*'- circumstances may cause an Englishman's luck to turn : he 
~ may be in bad luck at one moment, but he will be in good 
luck the next moment. -^ . 

165. There is a reference here to a popular belief that Ravan's 
; funeral pile is ever blazing^ and in Bengal people closing 

their ears can imagine that they hear the sound of the 

blazing and crackling, just as children in England imagine 

they can hear the sound of the ocean waves that encircle 

the island, when they apply a shell to the ear. 

168. These 'are all signs of poverty in the East: oil has always 

, been regarded in the East as a sign of prosperity, and we 

find it constantly referred to in the Hebrew Bible — " It is 

like the precious ointment upon the head." 

' - The absence of oil on the head is a distinct mark of poverty 

in the East. A thin stomach would also be regarded as a 

sign of poverty in a country like Bengal, especially where 

14 The fair round belly n of Shakespeare, and " The front like 



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NOTES. 227 

\ !*• 
s.*- . the front of Ganesh ■ of the Bengali, is regarded as a mark 

of prosperity. A good story is told of an Indian client who 
* had fall confidence in the English hamster to whom he had 
entrusted his case because he was a very fat individual. 
1701 There is a reference here to a story, found in the Puranas, a 
familiar child's tale in Bengal, of a sage who was dis- 
turbed in his quiet meditation by seeing a cat pursuing a 
mouse : he turned the mouse into a tiger that it might 
. escape from the cat, but he very speedily had to tarn the 
tiger back into a mouse again, as the beast was about to 
attack and kill him. 

176. Many are the stories told of the wariness of the Indian crow. 

177. There is a beautiful figure taken from a large tree in Sakun- 

tala ; in reference to a king's responsibilities, it is said :— 

* Honour to him who labours da? by day 
••For the world's weal, forgetful of his own, 

M Liko soma tall tree that with its stately head 

• Endures the solar team, while underneath 
** It yields refreshing shelter to the weary." 

Sir if. Monier- Williams' Translation. 

179. The Harinbati was at one time the place where prisoners used 
to pound soorkey, and the phrase " Go to the Harinbati" is 
still used in Bengal as equivalent to " Go to jail." 

186. It is a common tradition that if this expression is whispered 
in the ear of any one snoring three times, the snoring will 



186. The reference is to the stories told of a brother of Ravan who 
was famous as a great sleeper : he is said to have slept the 
whole year, except on one day, when he would wake, and eat 
a hearty meal of some thousand animals : his name is taken 
from the tradition that his ears were as large as water jars. 

186. The first salutation of a Brahman is in the form of a blessing : 

his hands are held out before him, palms upward : his 
second salutation is the ordinary one with hands folded 
together against his forehead, the fingers upwards : this is 
after his first salutation has been acknowledged. 

187. The story of these two is found in the Bhagavadgita, which, 

with the Chandi or Hymn to Durga, forms the favourite 

reading of the class of Pundits. Many. Brahmins make a 

- living as itinerary readers of the Bhagavadgita, or Bama- 

yana : they halt for weeks at a time at various places, and 



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i ' i 

• 228 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

,,r ~> -erect a temporary booth, where they read and explain to * 

all who may come to hear them : at the end of a course of 
reading they are presented with presents: one man in 
Patna is reputed to make |as much as €ive hundred rupees 
for one course of reading the Bamayana which may take him 
r about six weeks. 

> 191. One of the verses I have referred to in note 12. "The Song 

of the Gambler," runs : — 

tf The ptmbler hurries to the gaming table, 
44 To-day 1*11 win, he thinks in his excitement, 
"The dice inflame his greed, his hopes mount higher, 
'* He leaves his winnings all with. his opponent/' 

, 192. The reference seems to be to the last of the divisions of the 
*. Mahabharat : the divisions are called Parbba. 

192. Literally — H He is sharp enough in the own, but blind in the 
tahan" — a buri is equal to 20 cowries : a kakan to 1,600 
• cowries. 

192. It is a popular tradition that Yalmiki, the author of the 
Bamayana, wrote his famous epic before Ram was born : 
thus the expression practically means : " It was a foregone 
conclusion." 

193. There is a popular tradition about a small bird, called in 
Bengal the Chdtak, which sings in the hot weather months : 

• , the tradition is that it drinks only rain-water, and that its 

. - r > song is a cry to Heaven for rain : this is only one of the 

many traditions pointing to the eagerness with which in 
-■ India the annual rains are expected. The bird is a small 
black-plumaged bird, and its cry exactly resembles " Phatik. 
Jal," which the people interpret as " Sphatik Jal," " Water 
clear as crystal." It is supposed to drink with its beak raised 
in the air ? a synonym for an anxious man is — " He is like 
a Chdtak." 
193* Kankan, the name of the poet, the author of the Bengali 
Version of the Chandi, or Hy/nn to Durga : in the poetical 
effusion in the Tale the poetaster assumes the name of 
Kaukan. Yalmiki, the reputed author of the Bamayana. 
v Yyasa, the reputed author of the Mahabharat. 
1W. A reference to the popular tradition how Hanuman won 
frtfra Ba van's wife the arrow presented by Brahma to v 
Bavan, and how Hanuman presented it to Bam for Bavan's 
'destruction. ' 



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NOTES. 229 

197. The wearing of charms is very common amongst all classes 
in Bengal : it is still a matter of popular belief that sick- 
ness may be cured, and harm averted, by their use. The 
actual charm is often a piece of bark on which a sacred 
text is written : this is folded in paper into a very small 
compass^ and is worn on a delicate silk string round the 
neck, or round the arm. . 

202. The author had doubtless read the lines in " Hamlet " :— 

** Let the candied tongne lick Absurd pomp, 
** And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee, 
• * Where thrift mar follow fawning." 

203. In Hindu Philosophy, the name given to the third and lowest 

of the inherent natural qualities of man,— is Tamas — Gloom 
or Darkness. * 

203. The most profound salutation that a Hindu can make, and 
one that denotes absolute devotion of a man's whole body 
to the service of another, is one "with the eight mem- 
bers " : the members on which Hindus make religious 
marks, — the two hands, the chest, the forehead, the two 
eyes, the throat, and the middle of the back. 

210. Women keep their money tied up in a corner of their saris : 

»the expression here means literally "the riches of your 
skirt ; " men keep their money in a small bag stitched into 
* their waist cloths. ? 

211. No orthodox Hindu will commence any undertaking of im- 

portance, and some will not undertake even a short journey, 
without having first ascertained whether the day will be 
an auspicious one or not. The family Guru will be con- 
sulted ; and even when an auspicious day has been fixed, 
the ladies of the zenana will always insist upon the observ- 
ance of certain ceremonies. A gentleman of position, 
when inviting a guest to visit him, will often send him by 
special messenger a slip of paper with the auspicious days 
• for his journey written down by his Guru either in Sanskrit, 
Or in the current languageof the district. 
213. Shuka was the author of the Commentary on the Vedas, and 
has sometimes been identified as Yishnu himself : he is 
said to have been the .only one amongst many hundred 
millions of Hindoos who ever obtained perfect Nirvana ; 






m mi u um» ' 



2*0 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

Page. 

. that is complete absorption into the Deity : the full ex- 
pression is "Nirvana Mukti," that is, Redemption, a aalva- 
1 tion which consists in perfect absorption into the Deity. 

v 217. There are several plays upon words in this concluding 

passage of the book : in this particular passage the word 
* Pani ' is used both for " Hand w and for " "Wif e w : it came 
to be used in the latter secondary sense because one of the 
ceremonies, rendering a Hindu marriage legitimate, is the 
ceremony in which the bridegroom takes the bride by the 
hand. The use of words and phrases capable of a double 
meaning, is very common in Sanskrit writings. 
217. According to a not uncommon custom of ending stories in 
Bengal, the author ends his story with the first lines of a 
song, which in full is :— * 
"Thus my story end eth, 
The Natiya thorn withereth : 
Why, oh Natiya thorn, doat wither ? 
Why doea thy cow on me browae ? 
Why, O cow, dost thou browse? 
Why does thy neat herd not tend me ? 
Why, O neat herd doea not tend the cow? 
Why does thy daughter-in-law not give me rice? 
' Why, O daughter-in-law, dost not give rice ? 
Why does my child cry ? 
Why, O child, dost thou cry ? 

Why does the ant bite me? -— - : 

Why, O ant, dost thou bite ? 
* 1 Koot, koot, koot." 

271. "Don't talk to me of Khod-kast and Pai-kast : I will make 
them all Ek-kast." 

The remark shows utter ignorance on the part of Ma til all 
of terms used in connection with landed property in Bengal. 
! Xhod-kast is a cultivator who cultivates his own land : 

Paikaat isr one who cultivates land for another : £k-^ast 
Sb simply a term invented by Matilall, and would mean one 
1 who cultivates for oneJ* 



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GLOSSARY. 

Jm&iA.— A. name for the whole establishment of an office ; some- 
times simply for a clerk. 

Arjuna. — His story is told in the Bhagavad Qita. 

Aikwar.— The month corresponding to the English June-July : — 
The first month of the rainy season. 

Astrologer. — An important person in Hindu households, where his 
chief duty is to cast horoscopes on the birth of children. 

Bidri. — The name given to finely-chased metal ware, which was 

originally made at Bidri in the Deccan. 
Bhagirathi. — A name given to that branch of the Ganges which 

lower down becomes the Hooghly. Sometimes used for the 

Gauges proper. 
Baya—A drum played with the left hand only. 
BKitmcL — A great warrior of the Lunar Race, whose story is told 

in the Sanscrit Epic — Mahdbharata. 
Bael—A Egle Marmelos. The fruit of this tree has a very hard 

rind, almost as hard as the cocoanut. 
Budgerow.— The name given to a large house-boat used on the 

rivers of Bengal, 

CAampac.—teicheUz Champaka. A flowering tree that flowers in 
the rains : it bears large and yellow fragrant flowers, and is 
a very popular tree. 

Chowkidar. —A kind of rural policeman. 

Durga Poojah.— The great Autumn festival in honour of the 
goddess Durga, wife of Siva, during which all business is 
suspended in Bengal for ten days : it affords an opportunity 
for a re-union of families. 

Dampati Baran.—A form of Shraddh. 

Dan Sagar.— Literally " Ocean of Gifts." A form of funeral 
ceremony where every guest receives some present. 

Daroga.— An Inspeotor of Police. 



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532 THE SPOILT CHILD. 

Druva. — A boy of four years old, who went in search of Vishnu 

and received a sacred mantra of twelve letters from Narad. 

Upon the repetition of this mystic mantra Vishnu appeared 

to the boy. 
Durryodhan. — One of the heroes of the MahAbharat who was 
\ obliged to hide in a Lake called the Dvaipana Lake, to avoid 

capture ; he was the eldest of the hundred sons of Dhritarastra. 

Eed. — A Mahomed an Festival. 

Ghat.— The name given to a landing or bathing-place on the bank 
of a river, also to a place for burning the dead. 

Oosain. — A class of Hindu religious mendicants. 

Gariwan. — Hackney coachman. 

Guddee or Couch. — The principal seat at an assembly of notables. 
a To attain the guddee" is a synonym for succeeding to a title 
or to estates. 

Golden Age.— The first of the four Hindu Ages. Literally—The 
Age of Truth. 

Ghi. — Melted butter specially prepared for household cooking 
purposes, 

Gomashtha. — A land agent, or steward, the headman of the em- 
ploye's on an estate, or in a factory. 

Sunuman. — The monkey-god, a great favourite with Hindus. 

His story is told in the great epic — the Ramayana, which, in 

its Hindi version by Tulsi bass, is annually acted in Northern 

India. 
Horn. — An offering of ghi, barley-meal, sandal and rice, fried over 

afire. 
Eori Bol. — A cry to Vishnu, as " The Saviour." 

Jelabhi — A sweetmeat made in twists. 

Krishna. — The favourite Incarnation of Vishnu. 
KcUidas. — The Author of the popular Sansrkit Drama, " Sakun- 
tala." . . 

. Kodali.—A kind of broad hoe, used for breaking up the ground. 
Kabiraj. — A Hindu physician. 
Kayazth.—& man of the writer caste. 



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GLOSSARY. 233 



* Lankan — A name for Ceylon in the Ramayana. 



ZaibAmi.— Goddess of fortune and good luck. 
Lathial.— One armed with a heavy stick, often employed by 
landlords in disputes with neighbours. 

Mohurrir. — A clerk. 

Mantra,— A verse from the sacred hymns of the Vedas. 

Mahadeva. — A name of Siva. 

Mahajun. — A money-lender. 

JfacAa*.— A platform of bamboo, raised on piles above the ground. 

Mallika. — A species of Jessamine. 

Muktar. — An agent, or broker. 

Moulvi. — A Mahomedan title of respect meaning 'Learned/ 

Nala Raja.— The hero of the Sanskrit Drama, "Nala and Dama- 

yanti." 
Sdib. — An agent, or deputy of the landlord of an estate. 

Pandit.— A learned Brahman, learned in Sanskrit literature. 
Regular titles are conferred on Pandits according to the ex- 
tent of their knowledge, as tested frcm time to time by an 
assembly of Pandits ; one of these meets at the old Sanskrit 
University of Nuddea, or Navadwip. 

Phalgun.—Th% month corresponding from February to March. 

Paik. — Originally " a runner" : — Men employed by landlords as 

messengers. 

Ryot— A cultivator. 

Radha. — The wife of Krishna. 

Ramzan. — The name given to the Mahomedan Lenten Fast. 

Shravan. — The month corresponding to July-August, the second 
month of the rainy season, when the rainfall is heaviest. 

Shdstras.— The name given to some of the Hindu Sacred Books 
especially to the Philosophical works. 

&xn\— The usual dress of women, made of cotton, or silk, or 
* muslin. 

Sati. — A woman who threw herself on her husband's funeral 
pile was known as Sati, " The Chaste One." Sati was abol- 
ished under Lord Bentinck. 



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234 THE SPOllT CHILD. 

Satya Pir. — A Hindu deity regarded by Mahomedans as one of 

their saints. 
Saraswali. — The Hindu goddess of learning. 
Shorcuh—A kind of funeral ceremony where sixteen different 

kinds of presents are distributed, six kinds being of silver. 
Sephatika. — Nyctantes Arbor Tristis, flowering only at night. 
Shraddha. — The Hindu funeral ceremony ; see Wilkins' " Modern 

Hinduism." 
Shal Fish. — A fish used in religious ceremonies ; it is first roasted. 
SherUtadar.— The Head Clerk in charge of the records of an 

office. 

ToL — The name of the indigenous Sanskrit schools. 

TuUL — Ocyniuni Sanctum. The basil honoured by all Hindus. 

Tauba. — The Mahomedan cry of grief meaniug, " I repent me of 

my sins." 
Tabala. — The name for the drum that is played with the right 

hand only. 
Taluk. — A portion of an estate, consisting of several villages. 

Vdjog Parwa. — One of the cantos of the Mahabh&rat, giving the 
preliminary incidents of the Kurukshetra Battle. 

Veda. — The name given to the oldest sacred books of the Hindus 
meaning " Revelation." ^^ 

Vaiihfiava. — A follower of Vishnu ; see Wilkins* " Modern Hindu- 
ism." 

Tudishthira. — Surnamed u The Incarnation of Virtue." One of 

the heroes of the Mahabharat. 
.Fcwna.— The Hindu god of Death. 



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M The clever little book.**— Morning Post. 

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